I’ve finally begun my quest for the holey grail that is London’s best bagel. First destination – Golders Green. (I plan to do Brick Lane when it’s warmer.) Having been to secondary school in a Jewish area, I feel that I’m a perfectly qualified critic of authentic bagels. Here, I focus on the plain bagel. Not because including other kinds makes the problem a complicated multivariable one, but because it’s simply the best bagel. Here we go;
1st: Carmelli, Golders Green Rd. NW11 8HB, plain bagels 40p each, 8/10
Deliciously dense and chewy on the inside and crisp on the outside, fragrant and sweet just like they should be.
2nd: Daniels, 12-14 Hallswelle Parade, Finchley Road NW11 0DL, 40p each, 7/10
A very close second. As above, but the dough seems slightly less rich. It’s a bit out of the way too.
3rd: M&D Grodzinski, 223 Golders Green Rd. NW11 9ES, 35p each, 4/10
Used to be a lot better. Now the bagels are fluffy and almost brioche-like. Disappointing.
4th: Paradise bakery, 109 Golders Green Rd. NW11 8HR, 44p each, 3/10
As above but 25% more expensive.
So the winner of the best bagel regionals is Carmelli, which is also closest to the station and has long opening hours (6am-1am, opens 7pm on Saturdays – beware they’re all shut on Saturdays). The one let down was that the lady at the till was extremely grumpy. I can’t possibly judge her though. Her father might have died that morning by choking on a faulty hole-less bagel. Poor, brave girl for still coming in to work! Otherwise, she should pull her finger out of her bagel. Regardless of this, Carmelli’s very popular with locals and is well worth a visit.
Too far? You can buy lots when you happen to be there and freeze them. Give them 15 seconds in the microwave followed by a flash in the toaster before eating.