Wandering down Brick Lane in East London is a great way to spend a Sunday morning; exploring the market stalls, buying pastries and sipping coffee. If you find yourself doing exactly this, I suggest you drop in to Beigel Bake. Opened in 1976, it has continued to produce delicious, fresh and traditionally-made bagels to its many loyal customers 24 hours a day. The typically long queue is a good sign, and besides, it gives you a chance to appreciate the bakers at work.
The bakery offers a range of baked goods to all their East End regulars. From their salt beef bagels spread lightly (or lavishly) with mustard, to their elegant smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels. However the plain bagel is the real star in my opinion. There are also a wide selection of cheesecakes, sausage rolls, pastries and Challah bread – favoured among the Jewish old-timers.
Bagel history on Brick Lane dates back to the 19th century with the influx of Jewish immigrants from Poland. The traditional bagel is made from yeast, flour, water, salt and a sweetening agent, boiled and finally baked. Brick Lane in the 1930’s contained many Jewish merchants; tailors, gown-makers, boot and shoe dealers and of course many food establishments. Bagels were sold on the lane from ‘bagel ladies’ straight from the sack, while others sold bagels displayed on thin wooden sticks. These traditions continue in Beigel Bake along with many other bagel shops on the lane.
If you’re looking for some authentic East-End grub, then look no further. Drop in with the cabbies at 4am, or have a sunday morning bagel-enhanced browse at all the great street art nearby. Or just drop in after a late night. It makes a nice change from a dubious kebab.
Beigel Bake – 159 Brick Lane, London, E1 6SB