With locations in South Yarra (also known as Lawson’s Cafe South Yarra) and now Hawthorn, Lawson’s Bagels is a classy little cafe specialising in bagels stacked with tasty fillings, vibrant smoothies and good coffee.
Lawson’s Bagels South Yarra & Hawthorn
Locations: 51 Toorak Rd, South Yarra, VIC 3141 Ph: (03) 9820 1603 & 729 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn East, VIC 3123 Ph: (03) 9813 3720
I remember my first bagel very fondly.
19 years old and stumbling out of the Dublin Castle Pub in Camden, London after a night of loud music and frenetic dancing, and a friend insisting that we walk – I’m sure it was halfway across the city – to a place with ‘the best bagels in London’. After all, he insisted, they’d be just starting to get the first bake of the day out of the oven by the time we arrived.
He was right. And whilst I’d no previous experiences to measure it by, my NY-style Lox Bagel was truly worth the hike and this particular gourmet treat has held a special place in my food-adoring heart ever since.
So it’s fair to say that the current rise of all things bagel in the Melbourne food scene has got me excited.
Bagels are cropping up on breakfast/lunch menus across town and in some surprising combinations. Better still, there’s the rash of dedicated bagel shops that seems to be growing by the day.
Turning onto Burwood Road at Hawthorn a couple of weeks back I noticed a chic-looking wooden-clad shop front. The magic word ‘Bagels’ caught my eye.
Roll on Saturday and I returned to Lawson’s Bagels with my daughter – a true connoisseur of the salmon and cream cheese bagel – in tow.
So what did we think?
Well, it’s bagels.
And they are the lighter style of bagel that seems more popular at present, rather than the denser, chewier bagels that I’m more used to. Don’t get me wrong. They were delicious and incredibly easy to eat. But call me a purist – I love a bit of pull to my bagel.
Anyway, very minor whinge over, what’s our verdict?
So let’s start with our personal favourite. At Lawson’s Bagels this means House Cured Salmon, Tomato, Cream Cheese & Capers ($16.8).
The salmon is subtle, velvety and plentiful. There’s a thick layer of mild, rich cream cheese – it’s far superior to the stuff I buy in a tub at the deli. The tomato is ripe and flavoursome and the capers add a little spike of salty interest. Overall, it’s substantial and lush.
Even the Lox-snob is impressed.
As amazing as the combo of salmon and cream cheese undoubtedly is, we felt we had to try something else as well. That said, I plumped for Lawson’s spin on another classic – the Reuben. Juicy slices of Beef Pastrami, Sauerkrauts & Cheese ($16.6)
The pastrami had that nice briny kick whilst the sauerkraut was milder that I was expecting. There was also something that looked suspiciously like Thousand Island Dressing in there. Whatever it was, it was creamy and added to the moistness of the bagel in a really good way.
In all, there are more than a dozen bagel delights on the menu at Lawson’s Bagels. Happily, this includes a some vegetarian-friendly options. There’s a Mushroom, Cheese & Caramelized Onion ($16.3) that sounds yummy. We also saw the Chipotle Scrambled Eggs, Cheese & Avocado ($16.8) Bagel delivered to a fellow customer and it was definitely a breakfast-sized sandwich.
Interestingly, there are only a couple of sweet offerings making the list at Lawson’s Bagels. Cream Cheese and Jam ($9.9) sounds fine by me and that flavour of US childhood – Jam and Peanut Butter ($9.9) – also makes an appearance.
Firstly, there’s good coffee.
If you’d rather a cold drink, there is Fresh Orange Juice ($9) and a range of Plant Based Smoothies. The Tropical Detox ($12.5) with Pineapple, Mango, Banana, Turmeric and Coconut Water isn’t cheap, but sure tasted refreshing.
Outside, Lawson’s Bagels has a cool wooden-slatted frontage that stands out from the other shop fronts.
Inside, it’s a neat, chic little place with a fresh, clean vibe.
It’s pretty dinky in there.
There’s a communal table which had 8 students crouched on stools, working their way through an assortment of bagels. Along the window, there’s a counter and half a dozen more stools. We perched up there and watched the traffic on Burwood Road whilst we waited for our food.
Both the members of staff who served us were helpful and friendly. In the kitchen, we could spy another person, calmly putting together bagels to order. Everything appeared serene and under control.
If you’re looking for a different brunch, or a change from your regular lunchtime sandwich, pay Lawson’s Bagels a visit.
The bagels themselves are light and fresh, the fillings are delish and generous and the place is pleasingly zen.