I often have trouble concentrating and poor memory. Unless you are talking about food. Then, I have the memory like a steel trap and can focus for hours on end. So that's why when we arrived at Brooklyn Hide on Commonwealth Street in Surry Hills, nothing, not even the promise of a roast pumpkin pancake with chilli pork salad, Hell's Kitchen toast or a roasted winter vegetable salad can distract me from the bagels.
Brooklyn Hide is so named as owner Matthew Forsdike wanted to find a location slightly hidden away. On the menu there are signature bagels as well as a list where you can add what you want to a bagel from a list of seven types (cinnamon and raisin, everything, poppy seed, sourdough rye, blueberry and gluten free). Since they have opened they have sold 100,000 bagels. Customers find a table themselves and order and pay at the counter.
Served in a bottle with a straw the apple, kale and ginger juice looks much more savoury and green than it tastes. It is sweet and tastes mostly of apple and a strong hit of immunity boosting ginger. It is just the ticket for this weather.
I know that typically you're supposed to eat bagels with a "schmear" of cream cheese with some lox, and certainly there is that option on the menu with in house cured lox (and jams too) but I felt like something a bit warmer. We try the Midtown one of the nine signature bagels.
The Midtown is filled with a thick slice of deliciously buttery soft corned beef that tastes really close to Montreal smoked meat in texture. It also has a topping of Jarlsberg cheese, purple sauerkraut and mustard mayonnaise. The fresh bagel has a good texture to it and suits the filling well.
If I liked the Midtown then I really liked the Harlem. Filled with soft, warm, gumbo chicken, fresh garden leaves and red radish it hits all the right spots and textures in the same way that a good fresh bani mi does. Splitting it with Chloe with the knife is hard but not impossible.
I didn't get to try this as this was May's dish but she seemed very happy with the deconstructed lasagna.
They also order a small side order of rosemary roasted chat potatoes that are served with a seeded mustard mayonnaise. The rosemary on these is quite light and I like potatoes a bit crunchier but they were a fine substitution for fries.
Now that I had my bagel fix, the cloud lifted from my head and I could see other things. Things like the sweet cabinet behind me. There are oversized cookies and individual carrot cakes but the brownie is chosen. And it's a very good specimen of brownie-dom. With a rich, smooth centre and a crackly top, it's divinely rich and hard to have more than a bite but that.
A few weeks later Joan Holloway and I meet there for lunch and I had to order the Midtown bagel again because I couldn't stop thinking about that soft corned beef. But in the interests of doing my job properly we order a couple of other things to try so we split three dishes.
When she goes up to the counter to order the man asks if there are four people eating! Over order us? Never ;) The Joan's choice of a Hell's Kitchen bagel is filled with prosciutto, avocado, fetta, rocket, fresh lime and has a good balance of flavours and a creaminess from the avocado.
But for something of a non bagel nature we also order the roast pumpkin pancakes as I remembered these from the last visit. They come out light, fluffy and thick with a sweetness from the pumpkin. The chilli pork salad is shredded or pulled pork with fresh herbs and chilli. It's rich and perfect food for this trans-season shift. We look out the window and watch people wrestling with umbrellas and being blown sideways so we sink back in our seats and wait out the rain.
So tell me Dear Reader, has anyone ever assumed that there were more of you eating than there were because of your order? And what is your favourite bagel filling?
226 Commonwealth St, Sydney NSW 2010
Phone:(02) 9211 6448
Monday to Friday 7:30 am - 3:30 pm
Saturday 8:30 am - 3:00 pm