Oy Vey! Discover London’s Best Smoked Salmon BagelsBy Joanne Gould
God, we love smoked salmon bagels. The smoked salmon cream cheese bagel may seem like a straightforward offering, but something this simple needs to be perfect. The bagel should be boiled then baked, culminating in a wonderfully tight and chewy centre with a satisfying crispy outer; the salmon should be luxurious and just the right level of smokey. Then, it’s up to you whether to go for cream cheese, capers, horseradish or avocado; and will that be on a plain, sesame or poppyseed bagel? You see, the sky is smoked salmon bagel limit. To help you decide, here’s our guide to the best smoked salmon bagels in London (and you can get more bagel inspiration right here):
What: Smoked Salmon Bagel
The Lowdown: A French-inspired New York brasserie imported from over the pond into our own Covent Garden, the reliably buzzy and fun Balthazar comes good with their bagels. Stop by for breakfast weekdays until 11.15am for their traditional style smoked salmon bagel with cream cheese schmear. The bagel is, predictably, more in the New York style – ever so slightly sweeter and more bread-like than some others – and come via their on-site French Boulangerie which provides all sorts of scrumptious artisan breads and pastries. One of the best smoked salmon bagels in London when you’re in a rush, to be enjoyed with coffee, great juices or a breakfast cocktail from 10am.
Where: Balthazar, 4-6 Russell Street, London WC2B 5HZ
What: Smoked Salmon Bagel (£11)
The Lowdown: Sea Containers’ dreamy Tom Dixon inspired interior is the ideal place for a laid-back brunch, and we’d highly recommend opting for the smoked salmon bagel while you drink in those riverside views along with your prosecco. What you’ll get is a bumper bonus bagel of smoked salmon paired with cool cream cheese and chives PLUS spring onion and a fried egg; it makes us very happy not to have to choose between the eggs and the cheese. All ingredients are top notch and the vibe matches. Very nice indeed.
Where: Sea Containers at the Mondrian, 20 Upper Ground, London SE1 9PD
What: Filled Smoked Salmon Bagels
The Lowdown: Carmelli’s Bagel Bakery in Golders Green is an institution and one that is rumoured to have brought the proper boiled and baked style bagels to London originally. One of the best smoked salmon bagels in London: this kosher bakery serves up the perfect bagel which is appropriately dense, compact, chewy and – happily – warm. We’ve eaten many a bagel from Carmelli’s and can report that there is always a pleasing ratio of generous smoked salmon to cream cheese. Extra points awarded for the tempting trays of canapé sized smoked salmon cream cheese bagels which are great for brunching at home. We’d love some chives in there, but we’re nitpicking.
Where: 126-128 Golders Green Road, London NW11 8HB
What: Smoked Salmon Bagel
The Lowdown: For our money, here you’ll find London’s finest hand sliced salmon, with the choice of oily, medium or dry cuts (get the oily) and a range of smoke levels, all carved to order. Lovely Panzer’s has been the hub of St John’s Wood since 1944 thanks to their excellent groceries, but their revamp last year has taken it to the next level. Now, there’s a full lunch deli with in house chefs, a coffee bar from Square Mile Roasters and even a sushi counter. Nigella Lawson and Giles Coren come here for their salmon, and we can see why. Without a doubt, one of the best smoked salmon bagels in London.
Price: £3.95 for smoked salmon or £4.10 for salmon and cream cheese
Where: Panzer’s Deli, 13-19 Circus Road, London NW8 6PB
Best Smoked Salmon Bagels in London: Ultimate Guide
What: Eggs Royale Bagel
The Lowdown: Roni’s have been baking Jewish artisanal breads and bakes for decades now from their two Hampstead sites. Pop in for a pre-made grab and go smoked salmon cream cheese bagel, which is delicious as standard, but if you’ve got time to linger, pull up a pew and get involved with the Eggs Royale instead. Here, runny poached eggs are perched atop luscious smoked salmon on a in house bagel (or brioche) and smothered in buttery hollandaise sauce.
Where: 250 West End Lane, London NW6 1LG. Their NW3 site is undergoing a revamp until late Feb.
What: Smoked Salmon Bagel Board
The Lowdown: The kings of Jewish soul food have honed their craft since opening their mini Maltby Street spot and now in their newest guises continue to serve all the big names (the famous Reuben special, plus egg and onion, salt beef and many a shabbat classic), making nearly everything on-site themselves. As you’d hope, the homemade bagels are bang on, and once filled with traditionally made smoked salmon and cream cheese plus a fennel salad with tomato and capers you’ll never want to leave.
What: Salmon and Cream Cheese build-your-own bagel
The Lowdown: This little number comes as part of their popular ‘build your own brunch’ deal. The bagel itself is toasted (controversial but nevertheless welcome on a cold morning) and comes with the cream cheese as one item. Then, load it with their thick slices of house cured salmon and homemade ‘J’s pickles’ rich with dill and lemon as another item, and finally then build away with items like smashed avo and red onion or poached eggs for your third. Extremely hungry diners can opt for further components like vegan shakshuka, kale mac and cheese or pecan and banana porridge on the side for a two course breakfast or lunch situation.
Price: £12 for three items, £17 for five
Where: Leadenhall and King William Street
What: Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese
The Lowdown: This Brick Lane icon needs no introduction, but we’ll give it one anyway. It’s the white one of the two famous 24-hour bagel bakeries and this one turns over 7,000 incredible bagels a day since its arrival in the 70’s. These are the traditional Jewish style ones – boiled then baked as you can see just out the back of the shop, and you’ll get bonus points for the right pronunciation (it’s ‘bye-gel’). Prices haven’t changed much over the years either, with a plain bagel costing 25p. Never not busy, with students, cab drivers and anyone peckish after last orders, you can’t go wrong with a single menu item but of course the salmon cream cheese filled bagel is the one.
Where: 159 Brick Lane, London E1 6SB
What: Lower East Side Bagel
The Lowdown: Based inside the Soho House giant The Ned, we were worried that Zobler’s New York style Jewish deli would be style over substance (as some of the other on-site restaurants can be). It’s not. They’ve done their research, with bagels from Carmelli’s (almost as good as straight from the bakery) and their smoked salmon from Forman’s who make arguably the best smoked salmon in the country – go and check them out in Fish Island if you’re interested. So, the Lower East Side bagel of smoked salmon, cream cheese, red onion, tomato and capers on an everything bagel aka. ‘all the toppings please’ is an absolute triumph. At weekends, you can enjoy bottomless mimosas for £20, or bottomless filter coffee for £3.50 during the week.
Where: Zobler’s Deli and Diner, The Ned, 27 Poultry, London EC2R 8AJ
What: Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Bagel
The Lowdown: Anyone familiar with the B&K Salt Beef Bars in the Jewish hotspots of Edgware and Hatch End will know these guys know their way around a kosher kitchen: enter Tongue & Brisket as the central London little sister. Founder Bambos Georgiou has been in the business since the 1950s, going on to set up the acclaimed The Brass Rail in Selfridge’s Food Hall and the same principals apply here, with Tongue & Brisket all about those homemade, high quality ingredients that aren’t fussed about with. Should you manage to eschew their salt beef, we promise their smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel is the epitome of a simple dish done perfectly, arriving with understated lemon and black pepper seasoning and a smile.
Price: £4.50 regular / £6.50 large
Where: Holborn, Soho and Goodge Street