53 Flinders Lane
Mon – Fri 7am – 5pm
Sat 8am – 4pm
Coffee: Clement Coffee
“There is something to be said about tiny cafes, bars and restaurants set ups. Unlike their bigger counterparts who have the headache of worrying about decor themes, symmetry and dead spaces; smaller locations can bring out the best experience. Because of its small size, it’s more likely that the decor is focused, clear and alonged to the overall experience – think Brother Baba Budan. There is also a greater chance of having an authentic connection with the brand and its owners. So when Miss SL suggested Tom Thumb for brunch – measuring a merely eight square metres – I was excited to see the offerings this popular corporate coffee and bagel spot had to offer.
For a small space, it’s electrifying. With crisp white walls it is complemented with strong wooden finishings. The ground level has a pleasant buzz with people milling out the front waiting for take-away coffees and catching up on the latest office goss. The only seating available at Tom Thumb is upstairs and unfortunately offers minimum spots – roughly 10 seats which are often available. If you are lucky enough to find a seat you will notice a faint graphic art that is complemented with plenty of natural light; offering a temporary yet ideal escape from the desk.
Coffee is by Clement Coffee and Tom Thumb has done a great job in replicating the dominant citrus flavour notes that the South Melbourne coffee brewer is known for. My long black [$3.70] was exceptional in taste while demonstrating an attractive bold coffee head, served at the ideal temperature. I couldn’t have asked for a better coffee.
Tom Thumb is a rare bagel shop found on the top end Collins Street. Sourcing its bagels from 5 & Dime Bagels, you know you are in good hands with arguable the best bagels in Melbourne. With the choice of five bagels, I went for a more traditional yet delicious Lox Smoked Salmon, red onion, cream cheese on a seeded bagel [$9].
The Lox is not intended to be a ground breaking bagel. The combination of smoked salmon with cream cheese isn’t something new or different, yet utilising the simplicity of the flavours made for one delicious bagel. Having sourced quality smoked salmon, delicious and creamy cream cheese redited in a sharp, crisp taste from the pieces of red onion. This is the makings of a good weekday breakfast – a classic interpretation done really well.
I can see why Tom Thumb has built a successful following. For what it offers, it delivers a sense of detail and quality that is refreshing for the area. Whilst being small in size, it certainly packs a punch.
“Arriving at 7:45am on a Tuesday morning, Tom Thumb, a seemingly hole-in-the-wall type cafe, was humming. At least ten people were loitering around the front, either ordering their morning coffee or waiting for their order to be served. Frankie Green smart cups are on display, revolutionising one coffee drinker at a time. Most people give in to the delectable goodies out for show – chocolate and sea salt cookies, lamingtons and croissants to name a few but on this occasion Mr LB and I were interested in breakfast. Namely, bagels.
Checking out the menu, I was keen to get the only bagel I’ve had there that was just so darn good – the Maple glazed bacon cream cheese bagel [$7]. Unfortunately, they were not ready to serve the maple glazed bacon and so I had to change my order to a Ruben – pastrami, swiss cheese, sauerkraut, Russian dressing [$9] on a rye bagel with a double espresso and a cronut-like Vietnamese pastry with a name we cannot find on the internet (pronounced ‘queen-eh-marr’).
Moving to the back of the venue reveals a flight of stairs that leads to a small dining area. Mr LB and I grabbed a table for two and shortly after our coffees by Clement Coffee arrived. My espresso [$3.50] was light, fruity and a little sweet. It was much nicer than I remember my coffees here being and I attribute that to the blend of the week.
My bagel was served relatively quickly and was dense but delicious. The pastrami was beautiful. The meat itself was a little spicy which was unusual but the combination of sauerkraut, Russian dressing and whole mustard seeds spread was perfectly balanced. The sauerkraut was light but added a slight sourness to the dish, which was balanced out by the tangy dressing which had small bits of fresh pickles in it.
Our dessert to share had a croissant like exterior but slightly more dense, butter-heavy pastry interior. The dehydrated fruits created a variation to the crunch-and-chew texture in the pastry, but the really nice additional was the raspberry jam coated on the top base of the pastry.
Tom Thumb is a semi-regular little cafe haunt for me as it’s located quite close to my work. It’s great for a little indulgent snack, a coffee or a quiet space for a meeting during the week. The bagels and dessert are definitely worth dropping in for and makes for an inexpensive breakfast during the working week.”
Final thought: “Bagels, coffees and deserts – it covers all the requirements for a weekday breakfast”