I’m definitely guilty of sticking to my favourite inner ‘burbs when it comes to cafes and restaurants. As time wears on, however, and friends begin to disperse further across the city and beyond – there’s just no denying that the CBD is usually the most convenient place to meet and enjoy a meal together. So, I’ve recently begun to make a more determined effort in exploring the eateries of Melbourne’s CBD. I’ve found it takes a little planning ahead and often a lot of patience, but the CBD is coming up with some seriously excellent goods. Bowery to Williamsburg is one such discovery (a ‘discovery’ in a strictly personal fashion; this place has been buzzing along the gastronomical grapevine for months!)
Bowery to Williamsburg is hidden away on cobbled Oliver Lane just off Flinders Street, and is inspired by the great city of New York. I first visited for breakfast with foodie friend Hannah – and liked it so much I returned the very next day with another friend! The atmosphere is cool and casual, and the New York deli-style theme is fun and delicious without treading anywhere near novelty. Jewish influence abounds in menu items like Lox Latkes, Shakshouka Eggs, Challah French Toast and 5 & Dime Bagels. The range of sandwich creations available for lunch are also a great option for gluten-free diners – at a $1 supplement, my friend Suze (second visit!) was thrilled to report it was some of the best gluten-free bread she’d had.
The hot beverages arrive in crumpled ceramic mugs and a little American chocolate treat to accompany – Hannah and I each received a Hershey’s Kiss with our chai lattes. I’ll admit it was the Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate I ordered on my second visit, however, that stole my heart. It has just a perfect hint of peanut buttery flavour midst dark chocolate and comes with a mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup to boot. Yum!
Bowery to Williamsburg offer a generous selection of sweet breakfasts – something Hannah and I were very excited to find! With rotating breakfast specials every weekend, we also had the extra sweet options of Challah French toast with rosewater, mint, fresh strawberries and housemade vanilla labne, and Malted milk waffle with bourbon glazed banana and vanilla ice-cream. We ended up going with the cereals on menu though – Hannah had the granola with rhubarb, raspberries and vanilla labne whilst I had the steel cut oatmeal with blueberries and pecan praline ($12 each). These dishes are served in gorgeous enamel saucepans with little jars of milk, which I couldn’t help but love. The blueberries and pecan praline gave my deliciously creamy oatmeal a simple, lovely taste and I was scraping the bottom of my bowl in minutes.
My second visit called for lunch. Bowery to Williamsburg’s sandwiches are truly NYC – with options like the classic ‘Reuben’ (corned beef brisket with sauerkraut, Russian dressing and Swiss cheese), Pastrami, and Pickled herring (all sandwiches $12.50). Delicious-looking sides like mac and cheese, potato salad and pomegranate tabbouleh (all with served with pretzels and a pickle!) serve as tasty little add-ons for $4. I’m a sucker for anything with haloumi – so had the breaded eggplant with haloumi, roasted peppers and preserved lemon hummus, which is served on pita bread. The sandwiches are seriously a hit – we had a funny little shared moment with the group sitting next to us consisting mostly of repeated “Wow!”s and “Who knew sandwiches could be so good?!”
So yes, Bowery to Williamsburg is a big win in my CBD exploration. With an excellent location near Flinders Street Station plus tasty, interesting and varied menu options and a bright, casual atmosphere – this place definitely ticks the box for future friendly catch-ups. Plus, I need to return and try some of the American-style cakes and sweets – there’s a piece of S’mores slice waiting with my name on it!
Bowery to Williamsburg | 16 Oliver Lane, Melbourne, VIC 3000
Open | Mon – Fri : 7.30am – 3:00pm, Sat – Sun : 8.30am – 3:00pm
No bookings. Cash only.