LUNCHING with Little Collins

Courtesy of Little Collins
Despite the somewhat cold industrial interior— Edison bulbs, woods and metals—Little Collins, an Australian style coffee shop, is vibrant and inviting. Perhaps it’s the easy to swallow beverage menu or the flavorful to the point food options made with fresh ingredients. Or the smiles that greet every customer even when the line is practically out the door and everyone is in a rush. It could be that.
Little Collins is not your average coffee shop where you grab a cuppa joe and a bite and dash. It’s that and so much more. “We are doing our best to make specialty coffee accessible to everyone. Coffee shops can be intimidating,” says Leon Unglik, an owner. “Our staff is trained to be fastidious about coffee preparation but also to put customer service above all else.”
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The pace is fast, but time can also be relished with deep sips of aromatic coffee and seasonal blends. Smells of coffee and baked goods are hypnotizing while the tinkle of glassware is melodic. Counter seats are immersive as baristas move with purposeful ease and tiny tables along the wall allow for slowed down snacks. Even the rush is soothing.

“We want this to be a place that people want to hang out in,” Unglik says. But, it’s also about the coffee.
The midtown cafe begins with high-quality Counter Culture Coffee and brews with top of the line gear: the Kalita Wave brewing device, Fetco for batch brewing and is the first in New York with Modbar pour-over taps and espresso equipment. Unglik describes the flat white, popular both at Little Collins and in Australia, as a “thinner latte in a cappuccino cup.” The warm drink is velvety, not abrasive for the unaccustomed coffee consumer but Arnon Magal, an owner, also says “coffee geeks and snobs say wow right away.”
The curated menu, dotted with Australian staples, features 'brekkie,' soups, sandwiches and salads with a focus on “flavor profile and execution,“ according to Magal. “We are very much about fresh, seasonal ingredients and interesting yet simple combinations,” Unglik says of the food program created by Magal.
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The food philosophy is evident in the popular avocado smash, which recalls Down Under.  A whole bright green avocado, mashed with salty feta, lays thick on a toasted grainy bread. Red chile flakes and herbs brighten the rich avocado, while earthy pepitas add a meaty savory note. Definitely a hearty start.
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Sweeter, the Sweet Uncle Fred is like a quick brunch, but tastes almost as leisurely. Warmed banana bread is smeared with not quite savory ricotta and topped with strawberries and blueberries, stripes of honey and toasted granola-like almonds.  The fresh berries highlight the rawness of the ricotta, but the crunch of the almonds echo the walnuts of the bread. Simplistic beauty and refreshing unpretentious flavors make for a sweet beginning.
Courtesy of Little Collins
With more to wake you up than just java, Little Collins, boasting origins in Australian coffee culture and featuring plush bites, brings something new to midtown and the growing New York specialty coffee scene.
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Little Collins
667 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10022
ph 212.308.1969

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