$20 per person
City Works Depot, Corner Wellesley & Nelson Street, Auckland
Al Brown at it again, opened another hip Auckland eatery. Set in the City Works Depot and doggedly featuring one type of food (bagels), his latest venture will make some squeal in delight.
The open, earthen interior showcases the bagel's journey from raw dough to your plate. Service is equal parts brisk and courteous, pleasantly efficient and nothing more. The theatre of frenzied busywork is unmistakably Al Brown and uplifts Best Ugly from a mere stomach fueling pit stop to a unique experience in itself. Looking up the wall to the chalked menu reveals more than a dozen variety of bagels, both sweet and savoury. The tantalising selection somewhat offsets the bagel limit, everything sounds (and is) delicious.
The King Salmon was draped with crisp smoked salmon, and sprinkled with capers bursting with salty tang. Weighted cream cheese, peppered with light dill, layered the bagel... Heaven.
Ingredients are fresh, vivid and meticulously chosen. Even in winter the Mean Joe Green bagel's avocado was verdant creaminess, culminating in perfect bites. For these privileges you pay a premium, which unfortunately goes beyond my appreciation for these circular breads.