If like me you are a fan of the New York bagel or any bagel for that matter stuffed with your favourite filling, then make your way to one of three B Bagel shops in London where you can choose your very own personalised bagel from their extensive menu.
The good old wholesome bagel has actually been around for some 600 years, so I am told, and there was a time when freshly baked bread wafted from every London café before factory-made and heavily branded food hit our supermarket shelves.
It is with this in mind that the folks at B Bagel have drawn on their 30 years’ experience of baking bagels with traditional family recipes, using the finest ingredients and with not an additive in sight. Freshly baked in each store, they have brought back some good old-fashioned, wholesome bagels for us all to enjoy.
B Bagel’s founders, Alon Kubi and Yoav Baumgarten, grew up in homes where food culture was a matter of pride and developing recipes and exploring new tastes was part of their families’ daily life.
After a number of years working in the corporate world and losing touch with their connection to food, Alon decided to go back to his roots and opened a family-oriented bakery in North West London in 2010. Due to its success and popularity, he went on to open two further bakeries in the area. Then Alon joined forces with Yoav under the “B” banner, and started offering Londoners a little taste of home, straight out of the oven with fresh bagels, bagel sandwiches, salads, breakfasts and a range of great deli products.
My recent visit to B Bagel on Tottenham Court Road with a friend one lunchtime gave me the chance to try some of their delicious freshly made bagels.
All their classic bagel fillings include a basic side salad, however, if you are not keen on too much dressing I would suggest asking for no dressing.
We both chose the Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese bagel (£5.95), but they also have a Tuna Mayo, Hot Salt Beef with mustard mayo, pickles and sauerkraut, as well as a Pastrami, served with mustard mayo and pickles or there is the Egg Mayo made with chopped free-range egg, mayo, chives and tomato, and lastly a Cheddar Cheese and Sliced Tomato bagel.
If you are feeling a little more adventurous, then you can choose one of their special fillings, such as the Omelette Bagel, served with cream cheese, tomato and pickles or the Chicken Avocado, Tuna Melt Bagel, Shawarma Bagel, served with houmous, tahini, tomato, pickles and parsley or how about a Chicken Schnitzel Bagel with lettuce, tomato, mayo and sliced pickles. Then of course there is the good old traditional New York bagel with delicious roasted turkey breast, coleslaw, mustard and pickles.
When you place your order, you can choose which type of bagel you would like, such as an onion, sesame, wholemeal or everything bagel, as they call it, which is a mix of well, everything.
They even do vegan bagels that include a Vegan Cream Cheese and Avocado or vegan Sausage and Hash Brown and even a vegan Schnitzel and vegan Shawarma bagel.
When it comes to drinks, I would recommend one of their smoothies, which are not only delicious but also good and healthy. I had the Berry Mix (£5.75), which is a mishmash of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and banana, and I would recommend going for the milk and honey base. If you are looking for a breakfast pick-me-up, then choose the Breakfast Smoothie (£6.95), which is a mix of oats, banana, peanut butter, maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla with an almond milk base.
B Bagel also have some great snacks and I can really recommend the blueberry muffins which you might like to have with one of their iced coffees, be it an Iced Americano, Iced Latte or Iced Cappuccino.
If you are in a rush, then you can always choose one of their ready-made fresh salads, such as the Chicken Avocado, Halloumi, Tuna or Greek Salad.
A word of warning though, lunchtimes tend to be rather busy, so you may very well find yourself having to queue before you can get your order in. I found that after 1:45pm it was much quieter, so if you want to avoid the queues try and take a late lunch if you can. They also charge more if you want to eat in the Tottenham Court Road shop (the other two shops are takeaway only), for example their basic bagel is £3.95 to takeaway but if you eat in it is £5.70.
The eating area upstairs though is fairly quiet and spacious, and we saw a few people clearly making it their workspace for the afternoon, beavering away on their laptops.
B Bagel currently have three shops here in London including the Tottenham Court Road one I visited. The other two are in Wardour Street and on the Fulham Road.
B Bagel, 94 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T 4TN, England.
The Tottenham Court Road shop is open Monday to Saturday from 7:00am to 6:30pm and Sunday from 7:00am to 5:30pm and is in between Goodge Street and Warren Street Tube stations on the Northern Line.
Type of Restaurant: Takeaway Bagel Shop
Price Band: Medium with bagels starting from £3.95 for takeaway
Insider Tip: Be adventurous with your bagel filling and go for one of their delicious smoothies.
Reviewer’s Rating: 7/10
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man On The Ground, a former member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.
Photographs courtesy of B Bagel