Monday, 8 July 2013

Bowery to Williamsburg - Swanky

When I read that a "NYC Eatery" opened in the CBD the other week called Bowery to Williamsburg my first thought was that the Mexican craze was now officially dead and buried like WorkChoices but that to my shagrin, "American" style food was on the rise. To the point, when I think of a New York City style eatery, my first thoughts are big and bold sandwiches with a Jewish flare in a swanky yet professional environment. When the name of the restaurant makes reference to a train line that runs from the heart of Manhattan to Queens, it made me even more intrigued so it was with a fair amount of curiosity that I turned up to this place for lunch with one other.

Bowery to Williamsburg, Melbourne
Philly Cheesesteak, Macaroni & Cheese, Pretzels, Dill Pickle
The reputation of Bowery to Williamsburg proceeds itself as it comes from the pedigree of the Hardware Societe, one of the more popular laneway eateries if you believe Urbanspoon and of course my good self as I love their French-inspired breakfasts along with the warm and personable service. Following in the footsteps of its successful brother, this is another laneway haunt, within rolling distance downhill from Coda Restaurant and when we arrived we were not only greeted outside by service but advised that there would be a short wait for a table inside since that was the preference on this cold winter day. A short wait turned out to be a matter of seconds and we were happily escorted to the one long communal table inside within full view of the active and controlled food preparation area. I immediately thought that I could have been resting my arse at a Jewish deli in Manhattan as I spied the Kosher Salt, Lox (the Yiddish word for salmon) and of course bagels and a schmear of cream cheese on offer on the blackboard. Unobtrusive music plays in the background and the human machines behind the display counter creates some very attractive looking sandwiches judging from what others were eating off wooden boards next to me with a smile.

After having a very average "Philly Cheese Steak" at Misty's Diner last week, I couldn't help but order the "lunch special" which was just that. If anything was going to define a NYC inspired eatery in Melbourne it was that. Sure, I was tempted by the lox but I was intrigued if anything by this special offering. A side of macaroni and cheese, which would be served in a glass jar along with half of a garlic dill pickle accompanied the cheesesteak sandwich in a very reasonable time after placing the order. I was immediately pleasantly surprised, if not shocked, by the volume of this sandwich, a bulbous artifact that had cheese permeating from all directions and as I would find, effectively constraining the steam inside the sandwich which kept the tender morsels of steak moist. There was a fair amount of sweet capsicum and nothing bizarre that overwhelmed the trio of primary tastes. The bread was fresh and I was not only content but impressed. The macaroni and cheese was creamy and a well balanced accompaniment to the feature and when a bite of the crispy dill pickle was taken, there was not only a crunch, but a taste of garlic and the texture of a pickle that I would expect to find in New York, not one of the silly sweet and sour pickles that are so commonly sold in Australia. In fact, the only place I have readily found true garlic deli dills is Costco besides of course Bowery to Williamsburg.

The coffee was so good that I had two cups and enjoyed languishing at this place having pleasant conversation not only with my guest but also with service. Although the cafe has only been open a few weeks you would never know this and the impression at least that quality products has been flogged for some time is well pronounced. This is one of those laneway cafes that I personally will look forward to visiting when the weather improves as there is outdoor seating however heatlamps will warm your cold and tired bones and it does provide a different perspective albeit there is no funky music on offer. This is one of the few times I have been excited to find a "cheap and cheerful" place that I look forward to returning to.

Bowery to Williamsburg, Melbourne

Bowery to Williamsburg
16 Oliver Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9077 0162
no web site
My Rating: 14/20
Service: 3.5/5
Ambiance: 3.5/5
Quality: 3.5/5
Value For Money: 3.5/5
Comment: Cash Only, Open for breakfast and lunch Monday - Friday

Twitter: @epicurean3006
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com

When I made this post originally, 94% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon like Bowery To Williamsburg.

 Bowery to Williamsburg on Urbanspoon

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