330A Carlisle St
+61 3 9527 2198
Who doesn’t love a good bagel? Crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside and all the gluten, carbs and fat condensed into one little (well, okay, large) dough ring and sold at Glick’s, Melbourne’s most successful bagelry chain, for a mere 70 cents?
As someone who works and plays in the city, Glick’s Flinders Lane store is my go-to store for bagels. Screw the tough, stale and insipid mockeries of bagels that sell at coffee chains and dime-a-dozen cafes in the CBD for $2, sometimes $3, each. I’d rather rock up to the easy-to-miss Glick’s store on Flinders Lane at 7:30am on a Monday morning and ask for half a dozen bagels. And for less than $5, I will have lunch for a week. While take-away is usually how I roll at Glick’s, dining in is, of course, always an option. I felt like bagels for breakfast one November morning* so I dragged
Yoko and John Cathy and Aaron out of their beds and down the road to Balaclava. I mean, if I’m going to do the whole bagel breakfast thing, I may as well do it properly – at the original Glick’s store in the heart of Melbourne’s Jewish epicentre, right?
I’m not sure whether it’s the same for all Glick’s stores, but the one in Balaclava and the one in the city stick to the same format – bagels are available to take away (on their own or with fillings), or you can dine in. Other sundry Jewish dishes (or dishes of the Eastern European are also available, though most of them flaunt themselves for hours on a bain marie like a $2 hooker in St Kilda, as opposed to being cooked to order.
Unlike its cosier and more polished city sister, the Balaclava store is more spacious and utilitarian. On one side of the café, you have rows of bagels and other baked goodies tempting you in addition to bain marie goodies and a fridge stocking ready-to-bake bagels and pierogi. On the other side, you have chairs and tables filled with elderly Jewish folk ‘oy’-ing and ‘schmelschitzschitzskiskiovski-ing’ as they bite into their bagels.
We each had a filled bagel. Because our visit was so long ago and because I didn’t write any notes, I forgot how much each filled bagel cost. I wouldn’t be wrong, though, in saying that they range from $4 for a basic bagel to $8 for a fully-loaded one. Cathy ordered an onion (and poppy seed) bagel with avocado in it. It doesn’t sound like much but it was extremely filling (she struggled to finish it, even) and it tasted delicious – the piquant bits of baked onion went extremely well with the creamy avocado.
Aaron decided to go simple with his. He chose a jam and cream cheese filling – two spreads that, in my opinion, form a delightful and somewhat underrated union (though they have nothing on peanut butter and chocolate, or peanut butter and jelly). I could see the combination working beautifully sandwiched between a neutrally-flavoured bagel such as a plain or even poppy seed-flavoured. But onion-flavoured? Okay, that’s just as weird as eating French fries dipped in sundae. Or tofu and Nutella (true story). It actually wasn’t bad though – nice combo of three.
I decided to be boring and order my usual – smoked salmon, cream cheese and capers on a rye bagel. Oy.
Seriously, folks, what more can you want? Okay, maybe the now-Premier of Victoria walking in with his entourage for a media op while my face was smeared with cream cheese *facepalm*
Cathy decided that bagels weren’t enough (this was despite the fact that her bagel alone was making her full!). She disappeared to the counter and promptly came back with three falafels, accompanied by hummus. They were not the best falafels I’ve had but they did fine – they had a light and tasty filling that was encrusted by a crispy exterior. The hummus wasn’t bad either.
Although it was nice to sit at a bagelry in the heart of Melbourne’s Jewish centre, ultimately I think I prefer Glick’s city store. The food’s the same and the prices are the same but I do prefer the city store’s warm, wooden interior. Plus, their staff are hotter. Plus, it’s more convenient for me. Now if only they opened a Doncaster store. I mean, hey, we have a synagogue so why not a bagelry?
*Yes, November! I completely forgot about this entry until I accidentally stumbled across some un-posted bagel photos on my computer last night and thought, ‘Oh nooooooes!’ Just as I well I found them, or this entry would not have been written at all and you all would have been crying. For reals.