CBD holes



5 & Dime bagel Co., Katherine Place, Melbourne. Phone: 9621 2128

For all that I’ve been living in the west for a decade-plus, an occasional foray into the CBD remains pleasurable – especially when it’s with the primary purpose of having lunch with CTS pal Jacqui, the Urban Ma.

It’s a lovely reminder of a life that was once mine – though I never enjoyed the workplace views that Jacqui does from her 35th floor eyrie!

It’s a lovely, reminder, too, that Melbourne’s CBD is an ever-changing scene of side streets and laneways and small, affordable eateries coming and going.

In this case, jacqui has pinpointed Katherine Place as a suitable location for lunch.




The buildings here are newish, but it appears this little street may be coming to life in an eats sense – there’s an Indian street food place being prepared right next door top our bagel destination.

5 & Dime is a new enterprise that specialises in bagels that are “hand-crafted, boiled and baked using the traditional method”.

The bagels – there are nine varieties available – are terrific; chewy and delicious (see menu below)!

And the prices are very low – this is a beaut place to snag a cheap, sort-of healthy lunch for inhabitants of the CBD as it is towards the Flinders and Spencer end of things.

All the cafe seating is taken, so Jacqui and I quickly and easily arrange an impromptu “catch-up” picnic just outside.




We both order lox with plain cream cheese ($9.50), mine with an onion bagel.

And we share a poppy seed bagel with “green olive and za’atar cream cheese” ($5.50).

The latter is especially yummy and tangy!

See Jacqui’s post here.

Check out the 5 & Dime website here.





Bagels – the hole story in Caroline Springs



Rosen’s Bagels

Say bagels, and most people would do as we do and think of, say, New York or Philadelphia or Europe.

Yet while Michael Rosen originally hails from Los Angeles, bagels are a big part of his Jewish heritage.

As he says simply on his website: “I grew up eating bagels.”

For many years making his own had been a hobby.

But when he moved to Melbourne with his Australian wife a couple of years back, and settled in Caroline Springs, his bagel-making took on more of a cultural imperative.

There are bagels available in Melbourne, but as far as either of us are aware, none at all in the city’s greater west … save for those being generated by Michael’s new business.

“I wanted good bagels near me,” he says.

As well, he was coming into regular contact with a variety of US expats, Jewish and otherwise, who were likewise feeling profound bagel deficit.


It took him the best part of a year to get into the righteous swing of bagel-making in a new country – there has been much testing and experimenting to learn how to produce an excellent bagel using different water, flour and oven.

But now he’s flying.

His regular gig is in the IT industry, and of necessity that can and will remain the case for the time being – he’s in no great hurry to go the full bagel.

But he is having a ball, all the while treating his bagel business in a smart and professional manner.

Putting his bagels on a more professional footing is bringing its own challenges.

He has forged a working relationship with his local Caroline Springs bakery, Let’s A Loaf, so has had to get to grips with working with more dough and much grander cooking facilities.

Bennie and I love hanging with him for a while in his Caroline Springs home as he talks bagels and bakes us up a superb batch.

Michael uses nothing but organic flour.

Also into the dough go fresh yeast, malt, salt and water.

Michael shows us how he breaks the dough mound into smaller, weighed segments and then deftly hand-rolls them into fat strands before – hey presto! – joining the ends.

Looks easy, no doubt takes many hours of practice!

It’s this hand-rolling that helps make Michael’s bagels even more magical – each is an individual with its own irregularities.

The bagels Michael will bake for us today, however, have been “maturing” in the fridge overnight.


In small batches they are boiled for about a minute in water to which about a tablespoon full of barley malt syrup has been added.

It’s the boiling that gives the bagels their sheen, and the syrup that gives them their caramel colour.

From there, the bagels are left plain or dunked in poppy or seasame seeds, or a mixture of both with granulated garlic and onion.

Then they’re baked for about 20 minutes.

Demonstrating bagel versatility, we enjoy the bagel “pizzas” Michael has made for us as a late lunch snack, but we buy some cream cheese and smoked salmon on the way home for a more traditional and lovely bagel dinner.


It makes us very happy that such an earthy, life-enhancing and ancient tradition is being continued right here in our west.

A list of current stockists of Michael’s bagels can be found on his website – here.

They include a mix of joints that sell bagels unadorned and cafes/eateries that are selling the bagels as prepared sandwiches of various kinds,

In the west, they include Scudela, Pepper Cafe and Wee Jeanie.

Michael is also making and selling cream cheese-based “schmears” to enjoy with his bagels – they come in plain, green onion and dill, and smoked salmon and chive flavours.

Michael will be at Williamstown Farmers Market, at Robertson Reserve, corner Cole and Hanmer streets, Williamstown, next Sunday (October 27) from 9am-1pm.

Rosen's Bagels on Urbanspoon




Breaking news: Kenny joins modern world, takes notes using mobile device.

Bagel & Juice Cafe and Catering


Bagel & Juice Cafe and Catering, 736 Mt Alexander Rd, Moonee Ponds. Phone: 9375 2947

The signs on the wall above the coffee machine are eloquent and indicative.

“The deadline for complaints is yesterday,” reads one.

“Sarcasm – just one more service we offer here,” says the other.

As you’d expect, Bagel & Juice proprietor Leanne is a formidably tough, hard-as-nails broad.

Just kidding!

Actually, everything about this homely Moonee Ponds enterprise – the food, the welcome, the staff singing along to the music, the decor, the cooking aromas and more – is a lively, nurturing antidote to the hipper-than-thou coffee joints sprouting up like mushrooms across the west.

Hey, I can go with that flow quite happily, but Bagel & Juice is something else again.

Being no great fan of bagels, I’d previously ignored the place despite driving and even walking past it countless times.

But earlier in the day I’d set out with the determined purpose of finding somewhere interesting to eat on the stretch of Mt Alexander Rd between Kensington and Puckle St. That’s not as easy as it sounds.

As I discuss with Leanne after my lunch has been and done, it’s a weird stretch with a bit of a Jekyll & Hyde about it.

Heaps of traffic, a fish and chip joint that does sushi, lots of Asian places further up near Puckle St that seem generally pricier than we are used to in our other westie haunts, plenty of cafes and the like. And lots and lots of light industrial and commercial activity.

There’s not a lot of footpath traffic and many eats businesses are not open for lunch, though I suspect there’s a nightlife vibe generated by the pubs and clubs in the hours I am least likely to be in the neighbourhood.

Maybe all that accounts for why about 80 per cent of Leanne’s trade is found on the catering side of her business.

Actually, the word bagel in the name is a little misleading.

There’s plenty of them – brought in par-baked from Glicks and finished on the premises – but there’s a revolving cast of other goodies going as well, including these days what Leanne calls her “Winter Warmers”.

There’s soups and wraps and pastas and stews – the range from week to week varies, sometimes for no better reason than staff preferences.

“We don’t want to eat the same stuff all the time either!” says Leanne.

What draws me through the door is the list on sandwich board outside, and specifically its mention of “Beef or Moroccan stroganoff”.

I opt for the beef version – and it’s a doozy.

Made, Leanne informs me, by using beef, beef stock, mushrooms, onions, sour cream, wine, garlic, black pepper and lots of love, this is classic stroganoff territory.

Served over nice penne pasta, its richness is ameliorated in just right way by the wine. The beef could be a little more tender, but it’s the mushies, sour cream and pepper that dominate the flavour proceedings in a grand fashion.

It’s very good and I luxuriate in every mouthful.

It’s a good-sized serve, too, making the $10.95 price tag something of a bargain.

Bagel & Juice is open 8am-4pm five days a week.

Leanne has all sort of special deals and customer loyalty schemes going on.

And a big mouth.

There’s a nifty courtyard out back, too.

Who knows? Given the great vibe, I might even opt for a bagel next time around.

Bagel & Juice Cafe and Catering on Urbanspoon