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Nu Bagels - Wood Fired bagels coming to Kensington Market

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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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  1. 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

      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

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

        1. re: 1sweetpea

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

        2. re: ylsf

          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

          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. 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

            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

              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

                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

              We do have a close approximation: Bagel House.

                1. re: Yongeman

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

                  1. re: peppermint pate

                    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

                  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". . .

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

                21 Replies
                1. re: ylsf

                  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

                    Just reading St Viateur makes me salivate.

                    1. re: Googs

                      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

                        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

                          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

                            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

                              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

                                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

                                  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

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

                                    1. re: magic

                                      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

                                        Great suggestion, will do, for sure!

                        2. re: magic

                          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

                            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

                              "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

                                Can't disagree with anything you just said.

                                1. re: Yongeman

                                  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

                                    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

                                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

                                  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

                                    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.

                          1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

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

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

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: afong56

                                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

                                  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

                                    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

                                      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

                                        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

                                          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

                                            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. 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

                                      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. 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. 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

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

                                          1. re: pakmode

                                            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

                                              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

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

                                            1. 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. 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


                                                  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

                                                    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

                                                      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

                                                        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

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

                                                          1. re: Googs

                                                            Hmm. Interesting.

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

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

                                                    1. 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

                                                        They do sell plain. Never had any service issues.

                                                        1. re: justsayn

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