It used to be that New York City’s 13,000 or so Australian expats craving a comforting taste of home had few places to seek refuge. Then in late 1999 came Eight Mile Creek, the Nolita pioneer that paved the way for the Sunburnt Cow, Ruby’s, and last year, a burgeoning meat-pie industry. With all this activity, and an Aussie fish bar in the works (Bondi Road, at 153 Rivington Street), it’s time for an Australian-food primer.
Mention American coffee, and your average laid-back Aussie gets all worked up like Russell Crowe attempting to dial overseas. Their quintessential cup, the flat white, is a strong, smooth espresso drink—less milky than a latte, and not as foamy as a cappuccino. It’s done to perfection at Ruby’s, a lively Aussie hangout (219 Mulberry St.; 212-925-5755), and it’s turned up recently in Fort Greene, where expat Basquali (he goes by one name) has opened the café Smooch (264 Carlton Ave.; 718-624-4075).
Burger With the Lot
There is very little an Aussie won’t pile atop his burger, if the Whaleys (named for a beach popular among the surfer-dude set) at Ruby’s is any indication: It’s layered with lettuce, tomato, pineapple, beets, ketchup, cheese, and a fried egg. Also available at the Sunburnt Cow (137 Ave. C; 212-529-0005).
Drinking food at its primitive best, meant to be doused with ketchup and eaten out of hand from a paper bag like a Bowery bum, Australian meat pies are infiltrating the fast-food market. The charismatic Tuck Shop, which just spawned a midtown branch, fills its pies with ground beef, chicken (chook), steak, and curry vegetables; baker Lincoln Davies is experimenting with kangaroo and pondering Philly cheesesteak (68 E. 1st St.; 212-979-5200; and 250 W. 49th St.; 212-757-4841). And recently, commercial baker DUB (Down Under Bakery) Pies surreptitiously took over an existing Carroll Gardens bakery space and began selling its pies retail (193 Columbia St.; 646-202-9412).
What Tim Tams are to cookies (the Australian archetype), Lamingtons are to cake—a chocolate-iced, coconut-dusted sponge layered with jam that must have been what Hostess had in mind when it concocted the Sno Ball. Difference is, it’s actually edible. Available at Tuck Shop, DUB, and wherever fine Australian food is served