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No good bagels??? [London]

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Hi. I constantly crave good, light, yummy bagels in London but cant seem to find them anywhere. I've tried the place in Brick Lane, but it just isn't the same as the ones we used to find in the States. Also those bagel stands (Ixxy's etc) seem to have no flavour...
any ideas where I can get my hit? Thank you.

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  1. I used to live near Golders Green, and a couple of places there were good, but only when they were selling them quicker than they could make them - 3am on a Sunday morning was when I had my best ever bagel, from Carmelli. Hot and very tasty. When they'd been sitting there for a while they weren't as good, obviously, but were still alright.

    There's a place opposite that I really can't remember the name of, which was equally good but a much smaller operation and less busy. The area is worth checking out in general though, for bagels, fish and chips at Sam's, Japanese food and a couple of Korean places.

    1. I used to live near NYC (I'm there right now), and I have never found good bagels in the London area. Carmelli's at Golder's Green were about the best I've had. I just make my own now - it's easy. Chowhound has a good recipe right here. London has some things NY is missing - it's not a perfect world. :-)

      1. I recently tipped Golden Brown bakery, 88 Golders Green Road, for good bagels. They have a couple of varieties at least, one is moister and chewier and the other is slightly firmer and crispier, the former equates to New York style I guess. It's relatively new (1.5 years) and does good pastries and excellent wholemeal pittas. The bread range looks attractive.

        Agree with ibrahim that this could be combined with other culinary options in Golders Green, Eat Tokyo and Cafe Japan are worthwhile Japanese options and Kimchee is decent, if slightly overpriced, Korean.

        1. There's an amazing Beagle Bakery at the corner between Blackstock Road and Seven Sisters, just in front of the LIDL.
          Go there for the Bagles and for the amazing cakes...

          1. I'm from Long Island. A year or two ago, I went to BLBB and three places in Golders Green, all in one day, in search of the perfect bagel. Really, what I want is a salt bagel. Or a Super Egg bagel. I can't find these here. Anyone who visits me from the tri-state area knows what to bring: a baker's dozen of super egg, salt, and everything.

            But I did find that I liked the bagels at Carmellis best. I hear Daniels is good too, but I haven't made it there yet.

            9 Replies
            1. re: kristainlondon

              I agree that Carmellis comes closest to what we Yanks are after. I had a lot of bagels last weeks in the States. I didn't realize how much I missed a good 'everything,' and even converted my husband into preferring them over wholewheat toast. And then there was Katz's.... :-)

              1. re: zuriga1

                Daniel's are quite good as well -- although similar to Carmelli's!

                If you go to Selfridges there is a bread section that sells some kosher items, including egg bagels (not sure what bakery they're from -- dont remember) which are fairly good!

                1. re: brokentelephone

                  Where is Daniel's? Hmmm... egg bagels. I grew up in a city where back then that was the only bagel available for some reason. They are not my favourite variety, but I'll get one next time I'm in Selfridge's. It's a good excuse for a taste test!

                  1. re: zuriga1

                    Daniel's Bagel Bakery is at the Temple Fortune/North Circular end of Finchley Road:
                    12-13 Hallswelle Parade, Finchley Road, Golders Green, NW11 0DL
                    Opening Times: 7am-9pm Mon-Wed; 7am-10pm Thur; 7am-1hr before sabbath Fri. Open on Sunday, but not sure of the hours - definitely from 8:30am, though, as I was there only last weekend.
                    NB Annoyingly, not open on Saturday!

                    These are New York Style bagels - crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside.

                    If you visit on a Sunday morning, its quite a scene - some of the customers are not respecters of queuing ettiquette.

                    Fantastic bagels are turned out fresh all day, bags of mini-bagels that enchant everyone under 10, great Challah, and yummy cinnamon macaroons (boxes on the left as you go in). I don't recommend their new cinnamon bagels - not cinnamony enough.

                    And there's a great fish shop a few doors down too, with tasty (strong flavour - not to everyone's taste) & well priced smoked salmon.

                    1. re: Shivaun

                      I would have to go with Carmellis as many of you have stated previously. I did a quick search round and found an interesting article regarding a New Yorkers interpretation of the bagels over here in London. http://londonist.com/2007/01/london_b...

                      1. re: BeefeaterGin

                        that's me again! that's when I did my bagel round-up!

                      2. re: Shivaun

                        Thanks, Shivaun. Daniel's sounds very well worth a try.

                        1. re: Shivaun

                          Most of the bagel shops in London (certainly all in Golders Green/Hendon) are kosher under the Beth Din, so they're all closed Shabbat. Friday mornings are an even bigger scene than Sundays; the queues can go down 2 or 3 storefronts!

                          I used to live near Daniels and their bagels are pretty good. BTW it's quite a hike from the Tube, get the 82 or 460 up Finchley Road. Northbound bus stops right in front.

                          1. re: Shivaun

                            Sounds good and all quite local to me. One morning next week I'm going to go and do the taste test and check out bagels from each of Daniels, Carmellis and Golden Brown, my hitherto favourite. And when I'm at Daniels I'll check out Platters, the nearby Jewish deli, as well as the kosher fish shop, Sam Stoller & Sons.

                            As far as I'm aware there are still sizeable Jewish communities in Hendon, Edgware, Ilford and Stamford Hill, you would have to imagine that there are at least a few decent bagels to be found in these neighbourhoods......

                  2. Near St. Johns Wood station there is a deli called Panzer's. http://www.panzers.co.uk/ If you go reasonably early in the morning the bagels there will still be warm and are definitey the best I've had here.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: breathingdust

                      I'm living around Belsize Park at the moment and thought I would take advantage of my location and do a bit of a taste test around Golders Green Station. I was living in New York for a couple of months last year and had my fair share of bagels. My favourites were the pumpernickel that they sell at Russ & Daughters, although arriving at Absolute Bagels on the Upper West Side at 7am on a Sunday was quite a scene.

                      So onto the bagels:

                      Carmelli Bagel Bakery
                      126-128 Golders Green Road

                      Quite good, definitely closer to the New York style than at Panzers and the Beigel Bake on Brick Lane. Warmish and crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. I wasn't so keen on the rest of their offerings and left after one bagel. Will return on a Sunday morning.

                      Paradise Bakery
                      109 Golders Green Road

                      I still had a hole in my stomach so moved over the road to Paradise Bakery. They have more biscuits, challah and other sweets just like my grandmother makes them. I had a small chocolate rugelach and a light pastry that looks like a white bread roll/bun but is actually full of air and sour cottage cheese.

                      They were both delicious I will be going back here!

                      Parkway Patisserie
                      30A North End Road

                      The small strudels had caught my eye when alighting the bus. Went back and opted for the sugarless apple over the plum (possibly a mistake). It was ok, but made with filo pastry and I could do better. Will give this a miss next time for more sweets at Paradise Bakery.

                      Am planning a visit to Daniels this Sunday to compare but at least I slept well last night knowing that there were decent bagels in London.

                      There were also a couple of excellent Polish supermarkets/delis on Golders Green road and as noted above two nice looking Japanese places.

                      1. re: feelinfoodie

                        Thanks for your write up, good to get more coverage.

                        I don't think we're going to find Russ & Daughters standard Jewish deli items anywhere in London, that place is top 5 in terms of food places I miss from my time spent living in NYC.

                        I've now made it to Daniels and they have a good range of bagel types and the texture and flavour of the ones I tried (plain, sesame seed and onion IIRC) were all good, in the same league as the ones I enjoy from Golden Brown. The smoked salmon and pickled herring from Platters were also very good but on the expensive side. Worth a visit for sure.

                        Let me know if you make any good food discoveries in Belsize Park/NW3, it's my part of the world. Ever been to Retsina in Belsize Village?

                        1. re: oonth

                          Many 'authorities' say Daniel's makes the best bagels in London. I'm sorry to live so far from there and it's difficult to do my own taste test. I finally got to Masterfish so that's one down and a few more to go in that category.

                          Ah, Russ & Daughters.... but I did get to Katz's in May. :-)

                          1. re: oonth

                            i didn't end up eating out in belsize village much and didn't try retsina. how is it? i made very few good food discoveries in the area. green cottage near swiss cottage station and that's about it.... i did have superb peaches from the grocer outside the belsize park station - but they were from france

                            i'm living in notting hill now (love going to Arancina) and still haven't made it to Daniel's - although I have been in Russia and Sri Lanka so I have an excuse

                            oonth - what are the other four places you miss from nyc?

                            1. re: feelinfoodie

                              I haven't been to Retsina actually. A couple of people have recommended it and I'm in a phase of checking out more local places so I might give it a go. There was a relatively recent thread about eating in Hampstead/NW3, I think that I'm more positive in general than some others. Nothing inspirational but within a 1-1.5 mile radius some pretty good options like Bull & Last, Ikura, Tandis, Mahdi, The Wells, The Horseshoe, Singapore Garden, Goldfish, Jin Kichi, Osteria Emilia, Rosslyn Arms etc.

                              I miss quite a few NYC places but primarily Japanese favourites like Yasuda and Sakagura, we don't have anything like that standard in London. It's been 2 years since I left NYC and it's taken a while but I'm once again more than happy with London eating options especially the variety and quality of produce I can find in the markets, delis, supermarkets, food shops.

                      2. There is a bagel place on Cricklewood Broadway, NW2, , just after Shoot-Up Hill. Can't remember the name. It is open 24 hours on Saturday, so you could pop in at 2 am to get a fresh one. It think the bagels are very decent, but the fresher the better obviously. They also sell bagels stuffed with cream cheese and salmon, plus other types of fillings. Also rye bread and other types. I also like Daniels and Carmelli's. There used to be Grodsinki's around North London and they did bagels but don't know if they still exist.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: cathodetube

                          Proper London bagels are just different to NY bagels, sorry - it's just a completely different style. The best of the London kind are to be found at the Brick Lane Beigel Bake, the Happening Bagel Bakery in Finsbury Park, and probably in Golders Green (don't really know the area). All bagel chain and supermarket bagels are awful, without exception.

                          1. re: sphamilton

                            I'm not sure what you mean by 'proper London bagels'. The bagels in Brick Lane are completely different to the ones in Golders Green. They are very dense and smaller. Don't know the Finsbury Park place. I have bought some bagels from a bakery on the Walworth Road and spat them out in disgust.

                            1. re: cathodetube

                              Have you tried the ones at Panzer's - St. John's Wood? I think they come from Rinkoff's, and I find them just fine and fairly tasty. I'll have to try Carmelli's variety again to compare the two as it's a long time since I've had one of the latter.

                              1. re: zuriga1

                                Haven't tried them in years. Where is Rinkoff's? There is a Co-op near to where I live now and they have decent fresh plain bagels in their fresh bread and rolls baskets. I also go to a local cafe and the owner sells filled bagels. I asked her where she got them and she said Costco! She even showed me the package. They aren't bad.......a friend of mine gets me good beef franks from there |Costco), to veer off topic.

                                1. re: cathodetube

                                  I found Rinkoff's website, and it appears to be an old bakery (1911) that sells to trade and has an online shop to order their products. I'm sure it was founded by a Jewish family and has the old favorite, bakery products as well as more modern things.

                                  It seems to me that bagels come in all sizes and vary from one place to another, and what's tasty to one p;erson (or someone from another country) may not be so good for someone else. It's like art. :-)

                                  Costco is a big favourite in the States and has some great products. I miss not living too close to one over here, but heck... shopping in England is now a great experience.

                                  1. re: zuriga1

                                    I tried some wholegrain bagels recently from Costco and didn't like them at all. Even worse were the wholegrain ones I bought from Sainsbury's the other day. Truly awful. Just like dense rolls with a hole in the middle. I am sure they weren't boiled. I think I will stick to trying non-whole grain ones in the future. Is it even possible to make a proper whole grain bagel?

                                    1. re: cathodetube

                                      Sainsbury's bagels are just white bread (like a roll) gone amuck.

                                      My favorite back in the 'old country' was often a pumpernickel bagel, and they were whole grain and made properly. I can't remember if I've ever seen one in or near London but they probably exist up at Golder's Green.

                                      The bagels at Panzer's really aren't half bad. Give them a go.