Ah, the lowly bagel. Never has bread been so misinterpreted. Bagels should not smack of baguettes or donuts, nor should they be the size of an infantâ€™s cranium. True bagels are boiled first and then baked, generating a crispy shell and a dense and chewy centre. They should fit neatly in the palm of your hand. Can the real thing be found in the Big Smoke? Here are our top recs:
For the puristâ€¦
Brick Lane Beigel Bake, 159 Brick Lane, E1 6SB. Tel: 020 7729 0616
Plain bagels only. A great value at 18p each. 80p with cream cheese. Open 24 hours, and the goods are made on-site. Very satisfying crunch to the skin of the bagel. Inside is nice and dense. Service is efficient and competent if a little rushed given the queues.
Carmelliâ€™s Bagel Bakery, 126-128 Golders Green Road, NW11 8HB. Tel: 020 8445 3063
Plain, sesame seed, poppy seed, cinnamon raisin, and onion. A bit pricey in comparison to their East End brethren at 48p each. ÂŁ1.60 with cream cheese. Great tasting, and properly dense. Service is friendly and helpful.
For the impatientâ€¦
Britain’s First & Best Beigel Shop, (Also known as Aaronâ€™s Beigels.) 155 Brick Lane, E! 6SB. Tel: 020 7729 0826
Plain, sesame, or onion. Super cheap at 15p each for plain, 20p for onion or seeded. 80p with cream cheese, ÂŁ1.10 for cream cheese with chives. Good crunch on the outside, chewy (in a good way) inside. Service is a bit chaotic as theyâ€™ve got more on offer than the Brick Lane Beigel Bake, but the queues are shorter.
M&D Grodzinski, 223 Golders Green Road. NW11 9ES. Tel: 020 8458 3654
Plain, sesame seed, poppy seed, cinnamon raisin, onion, caraway seed. 29p each, ÂŁ1.50 with cream cheese. Products are disappointingly soft, bread-like, and sweet. Service on day of visit informed us that a bagel with cream cheese wasnâ€™t an option. Supplied in a surly fashion upon further questioning.
Havenâ€™t been yet, but weâ€™ve heard good thingsâ€¦
Danielâ€™s Bagel Bakery, 12-13 Hallswelle Parade, Finchley Road, NW11 0DL. Tel: 020 8455 5826
Rinkoffâ€™s, 79 Vallance Road, E1 5BS. Tel: 020 72476228