A recent article in the Guardian has inspired me to talk about bagels….or is that beigels??  As regular visitors to the East End of London we always visit the Brick Lane Beigel Bake (founded over 50 years ago) for what can only be described as ‘THE bagel experience’.This isn’t just about going to grab a salmon and cream cheese bagel to eat on the go, oh no monkfish fans, there is a lot more to bagels than that and at this hang-out you’ll find out why.

This is about a constant queue 20 deep spilling out of the door, a price list made from retro magnetic letters (except these are the originals and not re-issues…), the smell of bubbling water boiling the rubbery chewy white dough, the volume of chat amongst the staff (and the customers), and it’s about the limited menu.  Plain bagel, bagel with cream cheese, bagel with salmon and cream cheese, bagel with egg, or bagel with salt beef and gherkins (should Selfridges food hall really bother trying to emulate this classic? In my humble opinion I think not).  This is about the crowd pleasing prices (25p for a plain bagel!), and above all this is about the buzz.  This is bagel utopia, end of.

Part of the Beigel Bake’s appeal for me is the limited menu. If you do what you do well then what’s the point in offering more? Mr Predictable is always going to have the salt beef (he’s a man after all) and I’m always going to have cream cheese and ladies, don’t even bother asking if it’s low fat, you’d be laughed out the door!

This is the kind of place where being stuck in a time warp doesn’t matter. They serve coffee OR tea.  Not americano’s, skinny cappuccino’s, flat whites with extra shots, bucket sized lattes or caramel macchiatos!  You want coffee you’ll get coffee!  You want a bagel you’ll get a bagel.  It’s a great experience and should be on every tourist map, I love it.

So, you’re all wondering where you can experience bagel utopia in Edinburgh? Mymonkfish can report that you’ll struggle. If any of you know please contact me cos I’ve got a bagel habit that needs satisfying pronto.

Brick Lane Beigel Bake on Urbanspoon

7 responses to “BAGEL UTOPIA, DISCUSS

  1. Oh let me know when you find bagels like this in Edinburgh! I grew up with many jewish friends in Toronto and ate many a superior bagel…with cream cheese, with salmon, with chopped egg, with chopped chicken liver…not that the topping matters…it is more about the crust to dough ratio…not to doughy, not to chewy…oh and the salt…there has to be salt flakes somewhere on the top or bottom.

  2. I love bagels and wish-ety-wish we had one of these bagel-poriums here in Edinburgh. My fave thing about New York is going to H&H Bagels, ordering what seems like more than you could possibly eat, and spending the rest of the day chomping through them as you walk around the city. To be fair, London is a slightly closer and cheaper journey!

  3. oooh H&H, not been there although been to NYC a few times, must target it next time. I love the chewy-ness of the ‘proper’ jewish bagels too, you just can’t beat it… perhaps I should open the first Edinburgian bagel utopia, watch this space 🙂

  4. Love places like this, and love bagels too. Funny, this is the sort of place I’ve actively sought out in NYC, but not here at home. Must put that right next time I’m in London.

  5. Love the post-i dont think the bagels quite compare to NYC however beat a frozen crappy one from the supermarket any day.

  6. Used to go to this very place for lunch time bagels when I worked near Brick Lane – well worth the queues! Thanks for bringing back that tasty memory!

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