They could just have easily gone with ‘That plate of avocado toast must be destroyed’ because Australian-owned Carthage Must be Destroyed have created a brunch that is as appealing as you’ll find anywhere in Brooklyn.
Full disclosure: we’re Australian ex-pats and love championing other compatriots who are finding their feet and kickin ass at what they do in New York and if there’s one thing Australia does better than New York, it’s brunch. Strong espressos, smashed avocado are just the start – it’s the locals that have turned it into a brunchy booze fest with bottomless mimosas and bacon bloody Mary’s. Carthage Must Be Destroyed keeps it real.
A hidden gem
Carthage is one of those places so hidden that you’ll need google maps open to pinpoint it. Situated in the midst of refurbished warehouses in the middle of a dank industrial zone, the streets are filled with rich, sophisticated murals from members of the Bushwick Collective. You’ll pass places that are on the cutting edge like the Vimeo headquarters but there are still stark throwbacks to the area’s past with junkyards protected by muscular Rottweilers.
You’ll find Carthage Must Be Destroyed in the back of a driveway off Bogart. Its exterior is austere and apart from a printed sign stuck on the glass, you’d never know it was there. As we enter, there’s unexpected serenity. Our server politely greets us with a whisper and explains there’s a yoga class going on downstairs. It’s 9:30 on a Sunday morning and as you will find in New York, the city that never sleeps lives for Sunday sleep ins. This place will be packed with queues come 11am!
For a converted warehouse, this place has a genuine warmth. The music is classic crooner at times and early sixties pop while we’re here. Hues of pink imbue the cavernous space, with a pallet that sits narrowband between skin color and bright pink. The espresso machine is pink, the crockery stands in piles of pink and the trinkets on the table provide accents that are either pink or organic in nature, just like the menu.
Organic is the order of the day at Carthage Must Be Destroyed. That doesn’t mean strictly vegan, just that the ingredients are as genuinely organic as possible, so there’s less meat and more vegetables in the offerings. This is as close to an east coast Australian brunch menu as you will find in America. The team have done the simple really well. The bread is crunchy and fresh, the almost scrambled eggs are almost flawless (though the salting on the sides is heavy-handed for someone trying their best to live salt-free).
For one of the hot-spots for brunch in the city, there’s one thing conspicuously absent from the menu – booze. It’s pleasant to find a place that doesn’t assert the need for a bottomless brunch cocktail selection. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it attracts a certain crowd and when your outlet already attracts queues without it, why anchor people there for a binge when you can be turning tables and giving more people the pleasure of this tasty menu? Instead, grab one of their strong coffees. The milk’s organic, but don’t expect skim or oat milk. They also offer fresh coconuts and mocktails like the Pimms without the Pimms and a refreshing lime and muddled strawberry concoction with torn mint leaves. Yum.
Whether the name is a reference to Isaac Asimov or Roman Senator, Cato the Elder, Carthage Must Be Destroyed is a worthy addition to your brunch must-do list when in New York.
Carthage Must Be Destroyed is an organic brunch cafe in Bushwick, New York
down the driveway at 222 Bogart St, Bushwick