Australians Henry Roberts and Giles Russell wanted to re-create the bright casual beachy vibe of their hometown of Sydney in New York. They named their breezy café after a 1999 Heath Ledger movie about bank robbers. There is no such unsavoriness at the always crowded storefront - just flat whites, avocado toast (served on Bien Cuit toast), and lots of beautiful people. In fact, this has become the place for the local community to hang out and have some coffee or brunch.
Since the success of the café, the duo has gone on to open a second location called Two Hands Restaurant with a more serious food menu. They even brought in Chef Frankie Cox from Melbourne (Australia, not Florida) to create simple healthy dishes that are satiating and nutritious. But never feel like health food.
Two Hands is part of the ever changing Nolita neighborhood, an area we discuss and walk through on our Tenements Tales and Tastes tour. it joins a group of other Australian owned coffee shops and restaurants in the neighborhood. The café is open every day for breakfast and lunch and it's truly the place to people watch and feel like part of the local community. Service is friendly and the quality of the ingredients in the Acai Bowls, Corn Fritters, and hearty breakfast sandwiches is impeccable.
At the restaurant, brunch still rules with bright and flavorful dishes like a beet cured salmon bowl, sweet potato waffles and our personal favorite, an amazing Ricotta Hot Cake. But dinner is pretty serious here with homey dishes like Roast Chicken with Herb Tahini and a Hanger Steak with Chimichurri Sauce. The menu offers something for everyone whether you are gluten free, vegetarian, or just plain picky.
Serious Australian coffee drinkers have complained that typical American coffee does not live up to the espresso-focused drinks back home. Places like Two Hands have been part of the coffee revolution. You can get a beautiful flat white or cold brewed coffee here. They use beans from local New York coffee roaster Café Integral, which specializes in sourcing and roasting beans from Nicaragua. For the non-coffee drinkers, there are some wonderful fresh juices, smoothies, and an array of teas and kombuchas.
Australian expats and hungry New Yorkers alike can mingle together at Two Hands and get a taste of the food people really eat down under., You won't find any gimmicky shrimps on the barbie or kangaroo burgers on the menu, but rather simple, delicious dishes with a focus on local and healthy eating. .
Two Hands Café
164 Mott Street,
New York, New York 10013
Two Hands Restaurant
251 Church Street,
New York, New York 10013