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Nu Bagels - Wood Fired bagels coming to Kensington Market

ylsf Oct 5, 2012 08:11 AM

Saw this posted on BlogTO today in the opening/closing/food weekly report.


BlogTO said by the same owners of Kalendar on College. They also said "Montreal" style bagels.

Will be interesting to see what comes out of it.

If anyone knows when they are opening please post or if anyone tries them.

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    peppermint pate RE: ylsf Oct 5, 2012 08:20 AM

    Mmm, love the idea of wood fired bagels in the market. But I gotta say the bagels in that website pic don't look anything like Montreal style bagels.

    5 Replies
    1. re: peppermint pate
      ylsf RE: peppermint pate Oct 5, 2012 09:02 AM

      Yeah, I was thinking the same thing... wondering if they just used a bad stock photo or what... That is why I was hesitant to put "montreal bagels" into the title.

      1. re: ylsf
        1sweetpea RE: ylsf Oct 5, 2012 01:09 PM

        They kind of look like Great Canadian Bagel bagels (large and doughy).

        1. re: 1sweetpea
          Calam1ty RE: 1sweetpea Mar 8, 2013 04:37 PM

          I call those sort of bagels 'bread doughnuts.' Not bagels at all.

        2. re: ylsf
          Pantz RE: ylsf Oct 5, 2012 02:46 PM

          Perhaps we are the dawn of a new era of Toronto style bagels? Let's hope so. The wood fired oven is encouraging, the stock photo on their web site, not so much.

        3. re: peppermint pate
          Googs RE: peppermint pate Oct 7, 2012 07:11 AM

          Is that a shot of the rack at Tim Hortons? Do they rely on the ignorance of the public when they publicize themselves using the word "Montreal"? There is no possible way to get the correct mouthfeel with those flotation devices. Ovens, wood or not, don't make food. People make food.

        4. a
          afong56 RE: ylsf Oct 7, 2012 07:26 AM

          to be fair, montreal is not mentioned anywhere in the linked webpage. . .but yeah, would love to have a closer approximation to proper montreal bagels in toronto. . .

          8 Replies
          1. re: afong56
            Googs RE: afong56 Oct 7, 2012 07:31 AM

            However, it's in the Post City coverage of them so it's in their press release. To also be fair, the photo here shows the markings of Montreal style. I wait to see the final product with tempered anticipation.

            1. re: Googs
              peppermint pate RE: Googs Oct 10, 2012 09:00 AM

              Still a bit doughy looking for a Montreal bagel but I agree, that's a way better pic - though I don't know if that's courtesy of the Post City editors or the people at Nu. Anyway, I love the idea of a great bagel place in the market and I'm happy to reserve judgement till I see the bagels they're actually serving.

              1. re: peppermint pate
                Googs RE: peppermint pate Oct 10, 2012 09:21 AM

                That's why I say "the markings" and not "the look". Who knows if either set of photos are theirs or if they're both theirs and the 2nd photos are a progression of the learning process. I'm with you. Wait and see time.

            2. re: afong56
              acd123 RE: afong56 Oct 10, 2012 10:36 AM

              We do have a close approximation: Bagel House.

              1. re: acd123
                Yongeman RE: acd123 Oct 10, 2012 10:47 AM


                1. re: Yongeman
                  peppermint pate RE: Yongeman Oct 10, 2012 10:51 AM

                  Agreed + 1. But a close approximation in Kensington Market would be a welcome addition.

                  1. re: peppermint pate
                    Googs RE: peppermint pate Oct 10, 2012 11:15 AM

                    Exactly. Right now the only reason I go out of my way to shop in Kensington is Perola's. If these people can make a proper bagel and maybe a decent potato knish (hint, hint) I'd go more often.

                2. re: acd123
                  afong56 RE: acd123 Oct 10, 2012 07:35 PM

                  i chose my words carefully. as i wrote, i hope it's a "closer" approximation. . .i have eaten many a bagel house bagel, and while they are indeed a 'close' approximation, they aren't the real thing. sticking to my original hope for a "closer approximation". . .

              2. y
                ylsf RE: ylsf Jan 18, 2013 06:11 AM

                BlogTo mentioned today that they hope to open up by this weekend

                21 Replies
                1. re: ylsf
                  childofthestorm RE: ylsf Jan 18, 2013 06:35 AM

                  Hopefully they're at least as good as Bagel House - I'm not going to be unrealistic and wish for a St. Viateur clone. Kensington is becoming my supermarket these days, with Sanagan's, Hooked, Thomas Lavers, and Hogtown Charcuterie.

                  1. re: childofthestorm
                    Googs RE: childofthestorm Jan 18, 2013 08:21 AM

                    Just reading St Viateur makes me salivate.

                    1. re: Googs
                      magic RE: Googs Jan 18, 2013 08:30 AM

                      Buy St-Viateur at Metro! Who cares if they're not out of the oven! Don't buy into any of that "same day only" nonsense.

                      They're still GREAT toasted, even days afterward!

                      1. re: magic
                        autopi RE: magic Jan 18, 2013 08:54 AM

                        Is there something different about St Viateur bagels that makes them less prone to staling? Every other bagel I'm familiar with stales noticeably within a few hours of coming out of the oven. It's an honest question, as I've never had St Viateur bagels and it would be great if they aren't as time-sensitive as others.

                        1. re: autopi
                          julesrules RE: autopi Jan 18, 2013 09:07 AM

                          If you can get them in the freezer within a few hours they are still great toasted.
                          Sadly I don't agree the metro ones measure up, they do not even compare to buying in Montreal, driving them home and freezing them yourself. They're just okay. Someone (embee? what happened to embee anyway?) speculated that the metro ones are not made at the original St Viateur wood-burning location, but at their "other" bakery.

                          1. re: julesrules
                            magic RE: julesrules Jan 18, 2013 10:24 AM

                            I don't know whether they're made at the original St-Viateur location but as long as they taste like they are then I don't really care.

                            They taste great (toasted). That's all I care about. To me at least. But, as the teenagers say, YMMV.

                            1. re: magic
                              julesrules RE: magic Jan 18, 2013 10:42 AM

                              The premise was that they don't taste the same to me, toasted or not, and the speculation is to why. If they tasted the same, I wouldn't care either :)
                              I'm not a purist about toasting or freezing. I had people in line tell me that I couldn't put them in the freezer, even, when they heard me discussing that plan with a roommate. It was quite funny, a whole line up of Montrealers shaking their heads at me... no no you CAN'T put them in the freezer. Um. Ok.

                              1. re: julesrules
                                magic RE: julesrules Jan 18, 2013 10:54 AM

                                Yeah I guess to each their own right.

                                Personally, I'm pretty sensitive to freezer burn so I rarely freeze bread or bagels, which I think "burn" easily. Yet I've found Montreal bagels hold up ok in the freezer for a short amount of time.

                                But yes, if you feel they don't taste the same or just aren't great to begin with then that is another story.

                                1. re: magic
                                  kwass RE: magic Jan 18, 2013 01:39 PM

                                  Magic, you need to buy a vacuum sealer from Costco. Your bread/bagels (and anything else you want to vacuum seal) will never get freezer burn again, and they will last way longer in the freezer (or in the fridge for that matter) than they normally would. I'd be lost without mine!

                                  1. re: kwass
                                    magic RE: kwass Jan 18, 2013 03:14 PM

                                    That's not a bad idea actually. I really should. Ok, thanks!

                                    1. re: magic
                                      kwass RE: magic Jan 18, 2013 03:20 PM

                                      You won't regret it magic. I can't tell you how much longer I'm able to keep food in the fridge/freezer. It's probably the best purchase I've made in the last 2 years.

                                      1. re: kwass
                                        magic RE: kwass Jan 18, 2013 06:04 PM

                                        Great suggestion, will do, for sure!

                        2. re: magic
                          Googs RE: magic Jan 18, 2013 10:02 AM

                          Magic, while I agree that they hold up well, there's just something about biting into a freshly made St Viateur that's, well, magic, to me. I can (and do!) eat them straight out of the bag with nothing on them they're so perfectly made.

                          1. re: Googs
                            magic RE: Googs Jan 18, 2013 10:15 AM

                            Hey, listen, of course I love them out of the oven just as much as anyone, who would argue that.

                            It’s just, for me at least, I see Montreal Bagels as two different products: fresh ones and toasted older ones. To me they are both great, just apples and oranges.

                            In my experience, even a few days later Montreal bagels (whether Metro's St-Viateur or brought home from some bagel shop in Montreal) taste awesome toasted! Are they the same as fresh? No? Are they worse? No. Are they something different altogether? Yes!

                            Everyone's preferences are their own of course, but I do get sad when people can't enjoy a Montreal bagel 3 days later with some cream cheese and lox, or butter or whatever. I just don't see how anyone could NOT enjoy eating a bagel that way. It's not out of the oven, true. But who cares?! It's still good! It's just not fresh.

                            1. re: magic
                              Yongeman RE: magic Jan 22, 2013 07:02 AM

                              "It’s just, for me at least, I see Montreal Bagels as two different products: fresh ones and toasted older ones. To me they are both great, just apples and oranges."

                              Magic, I completely agree with this premise. In fact, I think I prefer Mtl-style bagels toasted to fresh (been to Fairmont and St. Viateur). Nothing like the taste of melted butter with that slightly sweet toasty dough. On the other hand, I wouldn't toast any of the TO-style bagels, but fresh and hot...oh, my.

                              1. re: Yongeman
                                magic RE: Yongeman Jan 22, 2013 07:20 AM

                                Can't disagree with anything you just said.

                                1. re: Yongeman
                                  afong56 RE: Yongeman Jan 22, 2013 08:14 AM

                                  yongeman--i can't think of a bagel i've had that tasted better toasted than fresh out of the oven. st. viateur right out of the oven. . .you can almost still taste the flavour imparted by the wood burning oven. . .the chewy texture of the crust. . .i think both are lost in translation when shot through a toaster. you get a different experience entirely. i've felt the same way in toronto (bagel house, bagel world, st. urbain), or new york (ess-a-bagel, the defunct h&h, murray's, tal, or even bagel hole in brooklyn). . .toasting, for me, is the realm of the mass-produced country harvest bagel, or the no-longer fresh bagels that somehow escaped consumption that morning. . .
                                  unless of course i'm using the bagel as the starch conduit in my panini press. . .but that's a different story.

                                  1. re: afong56
                                    Yongeman RE: afong56 Jan 22, 2013 03:07 PM

                                    afong56, I agree with you on principle, but some magic happens when the sugar-enchanced dough of a Montreal bagel gets toasted and buttered while it's warm. I NEVER toast any other kind of bagels.

                              2. re: Googs
                                magic RE: Googs Jan 18, 2013 10:18 AM

                                Agreed, but we don't live in Montreal. So, if you're like me and cool with toasting them, then Metro is a damn good option.

                                Even with Metro selling St-Viateur, I don't get them that often. I want them to be a treat. But not so much of a treat that I can only get them in Montreal!


                                1. re: magic
                                  Googs RE: magic Jan 18, 2013 10:22 AM

                                  Okaaaaay, I'll give Metro another try. And if you can't be with the bagel you love, love the bagel you're with.

                                  1. re: Googs
                                    magic RE: Googs Jan 18, 2013 10:27 AM

                                    Words of wisdom, Lloyd.

                                    Try them toasted with butter or cream cheese, lox, dill, cuccumber, tomato, red onion shaved thin, honey mustard, capers, black pepper, or however you like them.

                                    If you don't like, you don't like. At least you gave it a more than fair shake.

                                    Like I said, it could be just me! But I likem just fine.

                      2. num nums RE: ylsf Jan 30, 2013 08:46 PM

                        It's open now! Anyone been yet?

                        1. Notorious P.I.G. RE: ylsf Jan 30, 2013 11:26 PM

                          What a stupid ass name.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Notorious P.I.G.
                            petek RE: Notorious P.I.G. Jan 31, 2013 05:40 AM

                            Totally..I can see them trying to franchise the crap outta this..

                            1. re: Notorious P.I.G.
                              crawfish RE: Notorious P.I.G. Jan 31, 2013 07:10 AM

                              And a really ugly store front.

                            2. a
                              afong56 RE: ylsf Jan 31, 2013 07:56 AM

                              so the question is, has anyone tried it, and how good is it as a "montreal" bagel?

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: afong56
                                ylsf RE: afong56 Jan 31, 2013 08:44 AM

                                A friend re-tweeted someone's mini review earlier today but I can't find it now. Twitter seems to be slow/at capacity. Basically they said that the bagels were not good, dried out, etc....

                                but, while I was trying to find that tweet I came across some other twitter reviews that were positive. I think I will wait for a CHer to go and review :)

                                A write up on Now Toronto's website too : http://www.nowtoronto.com/food/story....

                                1. re: ylsf
                                  Googs RE: ylsf Jan 31, 2013 10:32 AM

                                  Depends on the reviewer as well. If you're used to the regular flotation devices sold as bagels in this city, a real Montreal may seem dry.

                                  1. re: Googs
                                    ComerDemonio RE: Googs Jan 31, 2013 06:52 PM

                                    I bought a 1/2 dozen yesterday and ate a plain one on the way home. They are very similar to the Montreal bagels found at Fairmont Bagels on St Viateur. The skin has that sort of papery feel that you have to tear through and the dough is somewhat chewy. Nice sweetness to them also. Definitely miles above the round doughnut shaped white bread that people call bagels here.

                                    btw the way I didn't pay much attention to the surroundings when I ran in to grab my 1/2 dozen.

                                    1. re: ComerDemonio
                                      Chester Eleganté RE: ComerDemonio Jan 31, 2013 11:21 PM

                                      Even though Viateur is great hot and fresh (moreso in wintertime), Fairmount over Viateur for sure, esp. as it cools. Ya, how bout we argue about this one some more.

                                      1. re: ComerDemonio
                                        afong56 RE: ComerDemonio Feb 4, 2013 08:31 AM

                                        dropped by yesterday and tried both the sesame and poppy, and will concur with demonio's take on the bagels. very similar, and arguably a closer approximation than bagel house, although, still not quite there. this was not helped by the fact that the bagels were not fresh baked by the point that i bought them (about 1pm). the very visible wood oven was not radiating any heat or were there any visible wood coals, even. i will guess that until sales volume generates enough traffic, they will not be baking more than once a day. my bagels were stone cold and as such, any comparisons i would make to viateur, bagel house, and even st. urbain, would be somewhat inaccurate. would love to get my hands on a warm (but not toasted) out of the oven bagel to find out. guess i'll have to get there closer to opening next time (even though that was only 2 hours earlier). . .

                                        1. re: afong56
                                          Googs RE: afong56 Feb 4, 2013 08:41 AM

                                          This is all very odd. The hours suggest a strong laziness factor. What? Did daddy's money buy this place for you? Get to work!

                                          1. re: afong56
                                            fickle RE: afong56 Feb 4, 2013 09:27 AM

                                            I had the same experience as you afong56. I was there around 2pm and my sesame bagel was cold, dense and borderline dry. It needed to be toasted at that point. We salvaged ours by spreading it with bacon jam from Hogtown Charcuterie to make it edible. Other than visibly looking like a montreal style bagel, I didn't find any semblance in taste or texture. As a bagel on it's own without any comparison to any style, I found it weak and have no need to repeat the experience.

                                  2. p
                                    principessa del pisello RE: ylsf Feb 1, 2013 07:06 AM

                                    Does anyone know if they are baking them fresh all day or just in the morning? Nothing like a fresh from the oven bagel!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: principessa del pisello
                                      LexiFirefly RE: principessa del pisello Feb 3, 2013 10:48 AM

                                      I was there at 3 on Friday and while delicious it was definitely not warm there were also a lot of them so it didn't look like they'd be doing another bake. The bagel was yummy but why open at 11? I went yesterday to pick some up for a.brunch party but they weren't open yet. I thought that a bit strange for a bakery.

                                    2. s
                                      Steady RE: ylsf Feb 3, 2013 09:51 AM

                                      Dropped by today. Super friendly staff, and they were moderately busy. I checked out their display of bagels and they looked like Montreal-styel bagels to me.

                                      I asked if they had any samples; the gentleman I spoke to at the counter said no, but that he could just let me try one. I insisted that it's not necessary, and that I'll just buy one to try, but another staff piped in to say it's not an issue.

                                      Having just finished brunch, I tore off a piece of the sesame bagel he offered to me and...Oh yeah! Totally reminds me of Montreal bagels!! The right chewy texture, and the perfect hint of sweetness. I told them the bagels were better than the Bagel House and they were so pleased!

                                      So I bought a half dozen ($1/bagel; $5/half dozen; $9/dozen), as I want to see how well they freeze. This just may save my clothes from smelling like bagels every time I come home from Montreal if I no longer have to schlepp Montreal bagels home!

                                      (Sorry for the shadowing on the photo; snapped it quickly on my phone.)

                                      1. a
                                        A flock of seagulls RE: ylsf Feb 4, 2013 08:36 AM

                                        Had a chance to try it this weekend. For the soft open, they don’t open until 11. I hope that changes soon; they should open a lot earlier. I liked the space; bright, airy and smelled amazing. Paid $9.60 for a bagel with lox and cream cheese. The bagels are tiny, very little lox or cream cheese can be spread on top. It came with about 12 or 13 pieces of greens as a side. What I had was simply delicious, I just wished there was more. The bagels themselves provided an almost out of body experience – pure heaven. I will go back but will probably just get bagels and add my own toppings at home. $5 for six bagels.
                                        P.s. I tripped on the way in because there is a raised step with no signage. Saw three people other people trip before I left, watch yourselves.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: A flock of seagulls
                                          pakmode RE: A flock of seagulls Feb 4, 2013 12:20 PM

                                          $10 for a bagel with lox and cream cheese?? Wow.

                                          1. re: pakmode
                                            afong56 RE: pakmode Feb 4, 2013 01:14 PM

                                            while i was waiting for my bagels to be bagged, the gentleman in front of me ordered a bagel with salmon and a schmear. . .it was not a terribly large portion. russ and daughters in nyc charges about the same, and the result is a monstrous feast with the freshest, choicest lox. but then again, they have volume on their side. . .

                                            1. re: afong56
                                              GoodGravy RE: afong56 Feb 4, 2013 06:02 PM

                                              Russ & Daughters also has competition that makes it the same way and customers that would scream bloody murder if they skimped on the cc and lox, much like I did when I ordered cc & lox at Druxys once (and only once).

                                              1. re: afong56
                                                A flock of seagulls RE: afong56 Feb 7, 2013 12:01 PM

                                                I could hardly finish my Russ and Daughters Lox and Cream cheese bagel. It was gigantic, a little messy and wonderful.

                                          2. y
                                            ylsf RE: ylsf Feb 5, 2013 08:42 AM

                                            Write up with more pics at BlogTO....


                                            1. t
                                              Tatai RE: ylsf Feb 5, 2013 02:29 PM

                                              I was there at about 3:30 this afternoon. The baker was there and there were hot sesame seed and warm poppy seed bagels. I ate half of one before I'd even finished paying for them. Very good straight out of the oven, with the requisite amount of sweetness, smokiness, and chew. Once cooled down, the exterior had the slight crispness one wants and it retained good chew. (I'm Jewish and lived the first 38 years of my life in Montreal, so I do know my bagels, in case you're wondering.)

                                              Better than St-Urbain, the Eglinton location of which is in my neighbourhood; probably on par with Bagel House. Would I make it a destination just to pick up bagels? No, but I do go to Hooked quite frequently and it's just a short walk from there, so will probably put it on the "When-in-Kensington-Market" list.

                                              1. a
                                                afong56 RE: ylsf Mar 8, 2013 02:39 PM

                                                gave them a second try today. . .this time i specifically asked for whatever was most recently out of the oven. this netted me a half dozen poppy seed bagels that were still quite warm.

                                                verdict? not a montreal bagel. the ones i received today were much larger, and had an overly thick crust that was very unappetizing. it's one thing to have a chewy skin, it's another to have a dense sharp crust that cuts the roof of your mouth.

                                                when warm, the middle is quite tender and when cooled, gets into a nice chewy zone that if matched with a better crust, would have been a winner. as such, the crust was terrible. a fatal flaw, imho, and i'm done with them. can't fault their service or staff, but their product just doesn't do it for me. in toronto, i'm sticking with bagel house.

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: afong56
                                                  magic RE: afong56 Mar 8, 2013 03:44 PM


                                                  Montreal gotta be sesame!

                                                  Sorry if I've started a floodgate of conflict here, but it just has to be said :)

                                                  I haven't been here yet.

                                                  1. re: magic
                                                    afong56 RE: magic Mar 9, 2013 04:21 AM

                                                    while i too prefer sesame, i was trying to be agnostic of coating and give nu bagel a fair shake based on what their oven could produce while still warm.

                                                    to be fair, both st. viateur and fairmount bake and sell both sesame and poppy seed, so i think not all montreal bagels 'gotta be sesame', lol.

                                                    if you're a montreal bagel purist, i suspect you're going to be a bit disappointed with nu bagel--they're making a bagel, using the same boiled then baked in wood oven method, but what's coming out of the oven is not the same, imho.

                                                    even that would have been fine, if their final product didn't have a such a thick, sharp crust. . .

                                                    1. re: afong56
                                                      autopi RE: afong56 Mar 9, 2013 04:36 AM

                                                      to be fair, i recently had a bunch of their bagels and didn't notice anything unusual about the crust. it didn't seem thick or sharp in any way. i don't know, obviously, if that's because we have different standards for this or if it's b/c of variability in the product.

                                                      i did think the bagels were quite good, the best we've had in toronto so far. (we live around the corner from a bagel house and never go there b/c we don't particularly care for them.)

                                                      1. re: afong56
                                                        magic RE: afong56 Mar 9, 2013 08:38 AM

                                                        No, I know Montreal bagels are both poppy and sesame. I think you know what I meant though ;)

                                                        Don't mind me and my mini rant. You eat what you want to eat :)

                                                        1. re: magic
                                                          Googs RE: magic Mar 9, 2013 09:05 AM

                                                          The light sweetness and crunch of Montreal style really says poppyseed to me. Its just more fun in the mouth.

                                                          1. re: Googs
                                                            magic RE: Googs Mar 9, 2013 09:40 AM

                                                            Hmm. Interesting.

                                                            As long as we all enjoy, that's what truly matters!

                                                  2. c
                                                    Calam1ty RE: ylsf Mar 8, 2013 04:36 PM

                                                    I'll try it out. If they boil them and bake them in a wood fire oven, I'm willing to try them. :)

                                                    1. Breadcrumbs RE: ylsf Apr 22, 2013 08:11 AM

                                                      We visited NU BÜGEL on Saturday and I just posted about my visit here on the Kensington Market thread before realizing this thread existed.


                                                      We toasted the bagels and thought they were quite good. I read folks here comparing them to Montreal bagels and I couldn't help make that comparison too. That said, in fairness to the restaurant, they don't seem to promote themselves as making Montreal-style bagels and their name appears to be German isn't it?

                                                      Nonetheless, we'd definitely go back and I'd like to try a sandwich in store since they really did look appealing. I didn't find the staff overly friendly or helpful but it was quite busy when we went on Saturday. I was wondering whether they sold plain bagels?

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                        justsayn RE: Breadcrumbs Apr 22, 2013 08:14 AM

                                                        They do sell plain. Never had any service issues.

                                                        1. re: justsayn
                                                          Breadcrumbs RE: justsayn Apr 22, 2013 08:21 AM

                                                          Great, thanks justsayn, good to know...on both counts.

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