“Where do you find good bagels in London?”
When you move to a new city, you tend to carry a number of “ridiculous questions” that other people might just find “too funny” or “silly.”
But having lived in the United States and immersing myself to the bagel culture, I just had to find a good bagel place. I hadn’t had proper bagels for almost a year—you just get some modified versions in India and Nepal where I’ve spent the last two years.
So when one of my friends took me to the Brick Lane Biegel Shop, my instant reaction was, “What is biegel? I am looking for bagels!”
I started looking at the menu at one of Britain’s oldest bagel shops. I’m sorry but I really can’t say biegel, and hence I’m going to refer biegel as bagel.
The shop has been there since 1855 and is a 24-hour eatery in east London.
When I entered for the first time, it reminded me of one of those mom and pop stores. It is small, maintains the old feel and the menu board definitely reminds me of old diners in the US.
And there are bagels everywhere in the menu—plain bagels, bagel with cream cheese, bagel sandwiches.
This was the first time I had actually found a bagel shop, something like the Einstein Bros Bagels in the US but much older.
I was happy, and I was hungry. So I ordered two bagels—bagel with cream cheese and bagel with ham and bacon.
While the crispy bacon bagel was worth every pence, I was expecting more from the cream cheese bagel. I wanted to be filled with the cream cheese, a plaster of cream cheese like the ones in New York City.
But as it seems you have to ask for more here and still it is not enough. In the US, I really had to request for them to be not very generous with the cream cheese. Here, I just have to greedy and ask for more.
I’ve found bagels all over London—from regular bagels at Sainsbury’s and Tesco to the ones at well-known places like The Breakfast Club where the bagel was toasted (understandable) and pressed (not acceptable).
But nothing has been like a good bagel meal at the Biegel Shop. While the smell of the fresh bagels arouses my appetite every time I pass through it, forcing me to go inside, the taste of it wants me to keep coming back for more.
But don’t get confused: the place isn’t only about bagels. It has cupcakes, cheesecake and more of the sweeter side of the food platter.
And apart from the taste, it is also the price that attracts me: the £1 bagel with cream cheese.
Though it does not make sense to commute for an hour to get my bagel with cream cheese, I drop by the Biegel Shop whenever I am in the area and get two or three of those bagels.
Other times, I keep asking friends if there are any good bagel shops around where I live.