Last night, I had a naughty indulgence.
After listening to my grandparents recant a story of my 5 year-old self gobbling up Brick Lane Beigel Bake beigels in the backseat before we had even reached home, I found myself having a wicked craving for some beigels. (That’s how we’ll spell bagel for this post)
We left my grandparent’s house and headed for Brick Lane. As we arrived on the infamous lane, the normal suspects that wander this area were out in full force. Hipsters claiming each other’s shirts are too “mainstream,” unique individuals with platform boots and long green hair, and tipsy clubbers stumbling into curry houses. We came to the end of the lane, and there it stands with a line of people lured in like mosquitos by the neon sign, Brick Lane Beigel Bake.
With it’s well established name, you expect some swanky interior with top of the line equipment. But no, it’s so amazingly average. It’s pure and traditional, it’s history. Opened in 1976, Brick Lane Beigel Bake is an everlasting reminder of the Jewish predominance that once existed in the East End. As everything around it has slowly changed, the Bakery remains, open 24 hours 7 days a week serving everyone from those arriving in Bentleys to those coming from the alley. It’s welcoming and comforting and provides stability and permanence in the forever available comfort-food of a fresh, warm beigel.
The first thing that hits you is the smell. It’s not far from the beautiful aroma of freshly baked bread, but this is sweeter. The smell is intoxicating and as it fills your head with the stacks of freshly baked goodies lying in plain sight, your desire for a beigel turns into a ravenous hunger for all things baked. I started snapping away, unable to capture the essence of the place, but determined to show you what you get at the Beigel Bake.
I wandered towards the back, and I guess Sammy saw the curiosity in my eyes because he smiled and calmly waved me to the kitchen. They were transferring the boiling rings of dough from the vat of hot water to soaked planks. Sammy told me, “they’re very, very hot!” Seeing my concern, he smiled and said, “don’t worry, they’ll now get a freezing shower,” as he proceeded to spray them with water. After delicately arranging the beigles in rows, they were swooped into the oven and the process was repeated. I thanked Sammy and told him I was off to get some beigels of my own.
Although we initially came to the bakery for an evening snack, this is far from what we left with. We had a cream cheese beigel, a smoked salmon and cream cheese beigel, a salt beef beigel, some cheesecake, a brownie, and a bag of beigels for the morning. The amazing part is all of this cost less than £10.