I usually end up working on my birthday or leave the country, depending on what year I am celebrating. This year, the stars were aligned and I was able to score a day off for my birthday so I wasted no time in booking the free shuttle bus to Chadstone Shopping Centre to indulge in some retail therapy. Whilst shopping was definitely a key activity in my indulgence itinerary, the first order of the day was to head to Bowery to Williamsburg (aka B2W) for a special breakfast.
I’m probably the only person in Melbourne who hasn’t been to this extremely funky and novel café situated in Oliver Lane, but while B2W has been on my must-do list, I generally tend to avoid the CBD area (and the queues) on weekends so B2W seemed like the perfect location for a mid-week breakfast escapade … and besides, it’s only a few metres away from the Chadstone bus pick-up point.
Shining like a beacon with bright lights illuminating the cold grey alleyway, B2W looks a little out of place in the shadow of tall office buildings and trendy living areas – I liken it to stumbling upon a secluded cabin in the urban jungle. I love that feeling you get where it’s past 9.30 am and you’ve avoided the early morning breakfast rush and can saunter into a popular place and have your pick of seating location … maybe that’s what they mean by “lady of leisure”! I wandered downstairs and found a seat on the corner of the large communal table – my own little oasis in the big city.
Just looking through B2W’s menu evoked wonderful memories of long-forgotten trips to New York with descriptions of bagels, schmears, Cuban sandwiches, and salmon lox, all combined with my favourite childhood dishes of potato latkes and challah that my Baba used to make. After last week’s disastrous breakfast, I felt that it was high-time that I reverted back to ordering something sweet and soul-enriching. The Sweet Breakfast Board looked enticing but the next item on the menu, Graceland with bacon, banana, whipped peanut butter on fried challah, was definitely a breakfast worthy of The King himself. Just to top off the festival of indulgence, I also decided to throw in a serving of ice cream as well.
My coffee was a welcome arrival after ordering my breakfast and quite pleasant, although not quite hot enough for my palate. And then breakfast arrived, presented exactly how I envisaged it would look like. Two thick slices of fried challah (it’s similar to brioche) encompassing crispy bacon, fried banana and peanut butter, sitting in a pool of maple syrup and finished with a fine dusting of icing sugar.
The challah was perfection – thickly sliced, nicely cooked, a light and fluffy consistency and sweet to taste. The banana was soft and well cooked but the definite highlight was the crunchy peanut butter sauce underneath the banana. I didn’t think it lived up to the “whipped” description on the menu but it tasted homemade and was full of flavour. Fine bits of crunchy peanut shards provided enough texture to balance the soft banana and bread elements of the dish. The salty bacon was a perfect addition to take some of the sweetness away from the breakfast and also complemented the savoury notes in the peanut butter.
As much as I loved my breakfast experience, I needed to get a move on and be on time for my next adventure for the day. I almost had to cover my eyes as I stood in line waiting to pay my bill, to avoid the beautiful pastries and cakes on display. Bowery to Williamsburg was definitely a culinary experience worth waiting for and I’m glad that I looked for an excuse to include a visit in my own festival of indulgence. As Elvis himself sang “Now go, cat, go”.