When you get to the counter to order, look up. The oven you can see glowing with scarlet wood chips, and that emits the smell of baking bagels, but different to any you’ve smelled before, was built by Canadian stonemasons. The guy with the tattoo sleeves hand-rolling each bagel learnt his craft from the head baker at Montreal’s famous St-Viateur.
As far as Montreal-style bagels go, Smoking Gun Bagels is legitimate. Co-owners Dave Young and Mark Treviranus are the only bakers in Sydney to take on the Montreal style, which differs from bagels in the New York style in that they are cooked in a wood-fired oven, and are thinner and sweeter (they’re boiled in slightly honeyed water). “We tried to be really authentic with this,” says Treviranus.
The toppings, though, are not authentic at all. There’s Queen P, with wattleseed, macadamia and peanut butter and crunchy bits of salted macadamia brittle. The Yid Life Crisis has wood-fired chicken (from the bagel oven), charred mashed avocado, kaffir lime and native mountain pepper. The closest thing to a traditional topping is the Not So Salmon with smoked trout, trout caviar, cream cheese, pickles, red onion, capers and dill. “We’ll also be doing a chef's special. So a different chef will come in and do a bagel each month,” says Young. At the moment the chefs are a secret, but Young suggests they have someone from Silvereye lined up.
The bagel toppings come from Oakridge Winery’s Joanna Barrett, who was recently foraging with René Redzepi for Noma Australia. “That’s why there's lemon myrtle and mountain pepper, riberries and rosella,” says Young. Treviranus and Young are in charge of the rest, mostly. Gluten-free Doughnuts come from Nutie Donuts (which also does some vegan varieties), and coffee is made in collaboration with Sensory Lab. “We work with them on our own blend. We wanted to actually use some of Toby's coffee,” says Young referring to the site’s previous occupant, Panama coffee farmer and ex-Toby’s Estate man Toby Smith. With Smoking Gun Bagels in, the ex-Toby’s Estate roasting site is noticeably brighter and more theatrical thanks to new set of tiles and the salience of Harry Morgan (baker) and the wood-fired oven.
Smoking Gun Bagels
129 Cathedral Street, Woolloomooloo
Mon to Fri 7am–3pm