It’s been a busy year for Five Leaves owner Jud Mongell. In January his ever-popular Greenpoint eatery went bicoastal with the launch of L.A. Chapter, a Five Leaves-inspired restaurant at Ace Hotel LA.
Only three months later and another Five Leaves spin-off is already up and running, this time a little closer to home in the form of Five Leaves Crate, a pop-up cafe in collaboration with Rough Trade NYC (64 North 9th St).
Nestled in a corner of the gigantic Brit-import record store in Williamsburg, Five Leaves Crate is exactly as it sounds: Five Leaves, in a crate. Operating daily from 11am-9pm, the cafe is serving up great food and drink to music fans in need of a little sustenance.
Bar stalls and tables around the crate make for a good place to take a breather in between vinyl purchases, whilst seating on top of the crate provides a fantastic vantage point across the store.
The menu is simple but delicious, featuring salads, sandwiches, pies and pastries.
Inspired sandwich combinations include Cheddar and Sage Frittata with Tomato Leek Jam, Pickled Egg with Beet and Ricotta on Rye, and English Sardines with Pepper Relish and Dill on Buttered Toast.
A particular highlight, however, are the pies, which Jud tells me were created specifically for the crate. Inspired by Five Leaves’ antipodean heritage, they include fillings such as Beef and Ale with Pickle and Cheddar and Potato Spinach Masala.
I tried a Roast Chicken and Vegetable Pie which was divine. The pastry, studded with rosemary, sea salt and chili flakes, had a crisp, glossy exterior and was delightfully flakey and buttery inside. Generously filled with tender roast chicken, leek, mushroom and carrots, the pie had a tiny hint of honey grain mustard running throughout and came served with a mini side of pickles. Teamed with a perfect flat white coffee, this is all you need to fuel an afternoon record store mooch or to gear you up for a night of casual swaying at a Rough Trade in-store concert.
While there are currently select breakfast items on the menu (including the famously good Five Leaves Granola) Jud tells me that there are also plans afoot to introduce more brunch dishes in the near future. Which means that if the wait is too long at the mothership on Bedford Ave (and LA is too far to go), you can always stroll a few blocks down to the Crate at Rough Trade and browse for some new tunes whilst you brunch.
As Five Leaves’ glowing reputation permeates the Brooklyn music scene and takes California by storm we’ll be glad to say it all started in Greenpoint!