How do London bagels compare to their carb cousins in New York and Montreal? We journeyed to Brick Lane in London’s trendy Shoreditch neighborhood to investigate this controversial situation.
After we heard a rumor that Beigel Bake has bagels that rival New York City and Montreal, we hit the tube and headed to Shoreditch’ Brick Lane to be the judge of this dubious bagel claim. You see, we’re somewhat bagel obsessed.
After entering Beigel Bake’s simple storefront, we got a good vibe right away from the shop’s stereotypical Jewish deli atmosphere. Since plain was the only bagel option, we didn’t spend long picking out flavors.
Instead, we staked our spot at the slim counter and ordered one with smoked salmon and cream cheese and a second with salt beef, mustard and a gherkin. Within just a few moments, our bagel sandwiches arrived ready to eat.
Our bagel with smoked salmon, also known as lox, was straight up good. On the smallish side, the bagel was less dense than a New York bagel and not as sweet as a Montreal bagel. The sandwich tasted pretty good, and it disappeared quickly into our bellies.
We were mildly impressed by Beigel Bake but still weren’t convinced about London bagels … until we bit into the salt beef sandwich. Loaded with devastatingly moist salt beef (similar to corned beef in the U.S.), slathered with mustard and topped with a pickle, this sandwich blew us away with its flavor and size. We took turns eating it until it was gone.
In fact, we would have bought a third bagel to share, but we were low on cash and the shop does not take credit cards. It’s a shame because compared to New York, Montreal and Philadelphia, London bagels are downright cheap. A bagel with lox in NYC would cost a heck of a lot more than £1.80, that’s for sure. Note -- this was the cost at the time of our visit and is subject to change.
Perhaps the best part of Beigel Bake is its hours. This bagel shop is literally open 24 hours a day, making bagels the perfect late night snack after a session at the pubs. Savvy budget-oriented travelers will want to make a pitstop here before trekking home to one of the best hostels in London.
Although the shop also sells sweets and bread, we recommend sticking with the bagels since they’re so darn good. Just be sure to bring some pounds with you when you go.
Beigel Bake is located at 159 Brick Lane, London E1 6SB, UK.
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