At its new cafe in Surry Hills, Brooklyn Boy Bagels is partnering with chefs from all over Australia to transform its famous bagels into gourmet feasts. First collaborator off the rank is Lenny Briskets, with a poppyseed bagel packed with roast beef, horseradish cream and fried shallots, served with a bowl of steamy beef consommé, French dip-style.
“Winter’s here and it’s getting nippy out there,” Michael Shafran, who owns Brooklyn Boy, tells Broadsheet. “We wanted to make something warm and drippy to curl into. You might want to bring a bib.”
Next collaborator will be Chico’s, a new Mexican restaurant in Kirribilli from the team behind Wingmill. Its version is inspired by birria (a Mexican dish of beef braised in tomatoes, onion, garlic, chilli and spices), but with beef swapped for lamb. Future collaborators include Michael Rantissi of Kepos Street Kitchen and Morgan McGlone of Bar Copains.
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Meanwhile, a big hit on the regular menu is the Fried Chicken Bagel, crowded with chicken fried in buttermilk and finished in a cornflake crust, layered with cheese, slaw and chipotle mayonnaise. Another is the Hoboken, inspired by Fiore’s, a legendary sandwich shop in New Jersey. Brooklyn Boys’ version comes with hot soppressata (from Pino’s Dolce Vita in Kogarah), fior di latte (from Marrickville’s Vannella), ’nduja, and marinated artichoke and capsicum.
Any pick goes down well with Shafran’s “favourite thing to drink at the moment”: a house-made agua de Jamaica (Mexican iced tea of hibiscus and cinnamon). Or, try an unpasteurised kombucha by Naked Bondi, an American soda, or Barrel One coffee.
Also available is an array of Brooklyn Boy’s usual takeaway treats, from freshly baked bagels and pretzels to house-made cream cheese spiked with jalapeno or smoked salmon. They’re all made at Brooklyn Boy’s original home in Marrickville, a bakery and drive-through in a loading dock.
Shafran opened a second eatery in Surry Hills for two reasons. First, he wanted a more central spot for his customers, who come from all over Sydney. Second, he wanted to build a dedicated cafe from scratch.
“It looks beautiful, because I spent my life savings fitting it out,” he says. “Where Marrickville is very industrial, Surry Hills is fresh and clean.”
He enlisted Varvara Sellies of Sisu Interiors to cover the walls in white, octagonal, textured tiling, that is coated in a golden sheen, and the floor in a stunning white, red, and grey mosaic. Complementing these are faux-marble countertops, sage banquettes and splashes of fire-truck red, including the super-shiny coffee machine. A New York-inspired mix, ranging from crooners like Frank Sinatra to salsa and ’90s hip-hop, provides the soundtrack.
Since opening, the cafe has been attracting queues. “It’s banging,” says Shafran. “People have been coming from Homebush, Bondi, across the bridge, all over, and it’s already becoming a bit of a destination.”
Brooklyn Boy Bagels Surry Hills
74, Shop 1/80 Reservoir Street, Surry Hills
(02) 9158 9555
Mon to Fri 7am–3pm