It’s no secret that Americans LOVE bagels. I used to consume at least three a week back in the States. I really think it’s one of the greatest culinary losses an American expat faces when moving abroad. Bagels, classic cheeseburgers, iced coffees, diner coffee, NY style cheesecake, pies (and not the U.K. meat pies), guilty-pleasure Chinese and Mexican food, movie theater buttered popcorn, classic BBQ, fudge pops (my latest craving), and oh so much more are on my list of what is missing here in the U.K. But, as you can see, good bagels are numero uno.
Bagels here are done all wrong, and I don’t understand it. Bagels are perfect, so why aren’t they everywhere? Okay, fine, so they’re not the healthiest, but England is no picture of fitness, so let’s not blame the lack of one of my favorites on being health-conscious. Let’s look at why bagels are so great.
- They’re delicious. You have a nice golden exterior and a soft interior of the best chewy dough imaginable. This amazing carb is coated or kneaded with your favorite flavor addition, whether it’s cinnamon and raisins, dried onions, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, blueberries, just plain salt, a little bit of everything, and many more endless possibilities, it’s all fricken delicious. Not only do you have the perfect punch of flavor, but you get to top it off with the salty, smooth, cream cheese of your choosing. Or butter or peanut butter or jelly if you’re one of those people, but let’s just focus on the cheese. It’s amazing. My go-to, Everything Bagel, toasted with Scallion Cream Cheese, is something I could consume every single day if done right, which, as established, is hard to come by in London.
- They’re cheap. You can have a delicious, fresh, filling bagel, and it will pretty much always be under $5.00. How can you beat that? With this price point and the endless flavor combinations, anyone can afford this tasty meal, making it a favorite of teenagers, anyone hungover, and adults alike.
- They’re convenient. You can have a bagel in your bare hands, on the go, in the car, at a Monday morning meeting, anywhere! It is the easiest full meal to consume and a real crowd pleaser if you’re purchasing an assortment for a large group. Everyone is happy with a bagel!
There you have it. Sorry about my little bagel rant, but clearly it’s been awhile. Now let me get to the real point of this post. The B Bagel Bakery Bar. This Fulham Road establishment is clearly a thought out “do” if I am this passionate about bagels. While B Bagel will never be a replacement for a traditional NYC bagel place, any American will feel at home sinking their teeth into one of their warm, soft bagels.
While their choices are limited, B Bagel has attractive poppy seed, sesame seed, plain, and onion bagels to choose from. I opted for the onion bagel, toasted with cream cheese, to eat in, and honestly it was perfect. While I would have loved to see a “salted everything” option, the onion bagel was good enough to make me forget what I wished was there. They have all the other bagel spread and bagel meat sandwich options, but I don’t fool around with any of that. You don’t need to.
Despite the deliciousness available at B Bagel Bakery Bar, I thought their table service was a little strange. A bagel is the type of thing you want to order up front, seeing the choices you’re faced with, pay, and then sit with your food once it has been handed to you. At B Bagel, if you want to sit, you have to participate in a full table service song and dance. Very annoying for a bill that ends up less than £4.oo. You don’t get to look at your options, you have to interact with more people than you may care to, and if you want to eat just half your bagel and wrap it back up in the nice stiff parchment paper you would expect to see, well you just can’t. Their bagels come exposed on a platter, and, for the weirdest part, WITH A STRANGE LITTLE SALAD. I do not understand it. That salad does not match a bagel, nor does it make my bagel look any more appetizing. It actually detracts from what is going on. It had strange dressed red peppers on top and made me channel Dorothy. I wasn’t in America anymore.
Aside from those little grievances–just give me a wrapped bagel and let me perch on a seat for a moment–B Bagel Bakery Bar is absolutely worth a visit. If you’re like me, an American missing a home classic, or someone that just appreciates the simplicity and perfection of a winning flavor combo, head to the Fulham Road bakery and grab yourself a bagel today! Enjoy.
236D Fulham Road
London SW10 9NB