When Darren Heath was in New York he went to the same neighbourhood deli every day for a 70c coffee and a bagel for breakfast, and a pastrami or Reuben sandwich for lunch. It sparked an idea that turned into Brookyln Bridge Deli, the closest thing Sydney has to a neighbourhood New York-style deli.
“The traditional neighbourhood deli is just a corner shop with a deli in the back.” Heath says New York delis aren’t trendy, fine-dining experiences. They’re simple, cheap and completely loveable. You could describe Brooklyn Bridge Deli in the same way; it’s just coffee, sandwiches, bagels and a few sweets. If it wasn’t for its traditional New York-deli sandwiches, and the TVs showing Nets games, it would probably look like any random neighbourhood deli in Sydney. “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. We just do it how they do it in New York,” Heath says.
Heath runs the deli with his partner, Melissa Siregar, and her dad, five-star-hotel veteran, Jules Siregar. The older Siregar is responsible for all the deli’s homemade produce, including house-cured pastrami, corned beef, sauerkraut and Russian dressing. For those who’ve never inspected the cream-coloured gravy at the base of their Reuben, that’s Russian dressing, a New Hampshire invention made with mayo, hot sauce, Worcestershire and onion.
The meat is what Siregar and Heath are most proud of. Brooklyn Bridge Deli is one of the few places in Sydney to make its own pastrami and corned silverside. “We really try to keep our pastrami as authentic as possible,” Heath says. It’s dusted with ground coriander and mixed peppers, then slow roasted at 110 degrees and brined. The finished product comes thinly sliced and steaming, with mustard, Swiss cheese and pickles between two slices of thick, dark rye courtesy of another Sydney-based New York puritan, Michael Shafran of Brooklyn Boy Bagels.
The corned silverside, which undergoes a similarly arduous prep, is served chunky in Siregar’s signature Reuben. Other NYC-inspired menu items include the Cuban and the Philly cheesesteak. If you come in the morning, though, get a bagel and a coffee. It comes with a free miniature Oreo.
Brooklyn Bridge Deli
Shop 6, 2 Bridge Street, Sydney
1300 886 751
Mon to Fri 7am–3pm