wholly bagels & pizza – a review on the fly

baby bagelsmall but perfectly formed.

This is actually sort of a three part review, because I have had Wholly Bagels & Pizza thrice since my arrival. Oops. But I’ll focus on the first time, which was the best experience. Cuba Mall is probably my favourite of the branches that I’ve visited, and the coffee was on point – long blacks are always a good way of gauging an establishment’s coffee-concocting abilities, since it’s coffee sans any flourishes. Short blacks would be similarly useful, I imagine, but their potency is just a little much for me to handle. My mum assures me that their flat whites were good too – she prefers one that isn’t too ultra milk-heavy, and it did well on this matter. I had a jalapeño cheddar bagel with sun-dried tomato cream cheese, and it was fine indeed, though a little too much for my tender stomach to consume all at once. Would recommend this particular combo.

Time the second was at the new Willis Street branch, and consisted of a cheeky bit o’ pizza, in part because I was having Sal’s cravings and it was the closest I could get to in this part of the country. Not bad, not bad, but no Sal’s, at least not overall. That being said, their pepperoni was better than I’ve had elsewhere – but it’s never my flavour of choice, so I feel it’s a little unfair to draw significant comparisons until I’ve had a flavour more to my tastes, but one must make do with limited cabinet offerings in the mid-afternoon.

And time the third was a mixed bag. Customhouse Quay, and empty except for me. The bagel I had was delicious (bacon and egg, with cheese and relish, on a mini plain bagel) but the coffee was just awful. It tasted salty, which at first made me wonder whether I’d grabbed the wrong sachets, but I double checked the residue, and it was definitely sugar. Very strange, very unpleasant. I probably should have mentioned it to staff there, but I was in a bit of a rush, so just downed what I could stomach, before moving on.

The moral of the story? Their bagels are gorgeous across the table, but the coffee can be hit-or-miss. The Cuba Mall location would definitely be my recommendation, especially on sunny days when there are magical buskers outside. And the $7 coffee and bagel special is hella good in a world where half the cafe sandwiches cost that much or more. Go do it. Just make sure you say something if your coffee tastes a little funky.

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