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Hot dogs, burgers, buffalo wings, you name it… it seems that most foods enjoyed in the land of the USA are making quite a splash in Melbourne, with several American-style restaurants opening here in the past year or so. YHL and I recently took advantage of a relatively quiet and less busier lab day to make the trip to Bowery and Williamsburg in the CBD for a spot of lunch.
Figuratively meeting half way between Melbourne and the US (literally would mean somewhere in the middle of Africa), the lively and cosy New York-style deli is tucked away on one of Melbourne’s many alleyways.
As expected given the hype surrounding the restaurant, the restaurant was full and there were others standing around waiting for a table. Luckily for us, we had arrived at the right time, and were able to score a table immediately. Although, most people were seated within 5 or 10 minutes anyway. Takeaway is also an option if waiting is not your cup of tea.
YHL said the cappuccino’s flavour was particularly strong, which is just the way she likes it.
Field mushroom sandwich - with pomegranate tabouli and minted yoghurt.
I frequently see mushrooms being served with something like goats cheese, feta and/or avocado, so it was a refreshing change of pace to see its pairing with couscous, a hint of spice, and fresh mint. The occasional sweet juiciness bursting from the pomegranate seeds seemed out of place at first, but actually worked surprisingly well with the tender mushrooms and other ingredients - I found myself looking forward to these pomegranate encounters.
Sandwich plus side plus pretzels & a pickle.
While YHL ordered a standalone sandwich, I decided to order a lunch set, which included all of the extras shown above. There were various sides available (most of which were salads), but it was the mac n cheese that won me over.
Hot smoked salmon sandwich - with caviar cream cheese schmear, heirloom tomato, fried capers and radish. Plus a pickle.
The sourdough bread tasted fresh, was well-toasted and possessed some crunch. While the great quality of the bread excited my taste buds, it was the salmon filling that created the real buzz. Prepared to perfection, the salmon was very tender and smoky, and its creamy richness complemented the cream cheese schmear. The fresh, juicy and sweet tomatoes, and the fried capers added to the flavour explosion that came with each bite.
Side: Mac n cheese.
The mac n cheese had a gorgeous crumb and herb crust that produced an aromatic crunch, but the pasta underneath tasted overcooked and unpleasantly mushy.
You all know what pretzels taste like!
With a selection of sandwiches that are gourmet and perhaps even healthy (the mushroom tabouli certainly tasted like it), Bowery to Williamsburg shows Melbourne that American food doesn’t always come in a fatty, oil-laden form… and with absolutely no compromise on taste!
Bowery to Williamsburg
16 Oliver Lane,
Melbourne, Victoria, 3000.
(03) 9077 0162