By Koray Hussein
There are a ridiculous amount of things to do in London. There are endless restaurants, museums, markets, theatres and parks to spend your time in and even now, after spending 28 years in this city, I haven’t even scratched the surface.
Everybody claims to know this city like the back of their hand, yet I would bet any money that there are at least 10 must see places that even the most ardent of Londoner hasn’t even heard of, let alone been to.
Sure, everybody knows about Regents Park and Primrose Hill but I’ve had endless emails and messages from people telling me they were amazed after seeing St Dunstan-in-the-East on the site. The same goes for the Pergola & Hill Garden I wrote about a little while ago and if it wasn’t for the movie Closer, it’d probably happen with Postman’s Park too. There is always a hidden gem just around the corner in London and that’s what makes it so great; no Londoner has seen it all and no mater how hard they try, they never will…
… That being said though, there are a few things that you need to experience before you can call yourself a true Londoner. Here are a few off the top of my head:
- Watching Tower Bridge raise.
- Wondering why your bent as hell Oyster card won’t register on the reader.
- Walking past a Shitbucks and going into your favourite greasy spoon to pick up your morning tea/coffee for less than a quid.
- Visiting Borough, Camden Lock, Portobello Road & Old Spitalfields markets.
- Shivering at the thought of getting on the Northern Line.
- Trying to stop yourself from killing somebody standing on the left side of an escalator.
- … And sinking your teeth into a Brick Lane beigel.
The Brick Lane beigel shops are a staple within this city and need to be visited if you want to call yourself a true Londoner. It’s just that simple.
Which beigel shop you choose to visit is up to you, but be warned that there are a lot of people out there who treat these shops as if they’re Arsenal and Tottenham, and literally hate the other shop. I, thankfully don’t fall under this category and will visit both the yellow signed Beigel Shop and the white signed Beigel Bake.
Today, as you might have guessed by the header and title of this post, we’re going to be talking about Beigel Bake.
Now, if you’re going to be visiting these guys then you need to try their famous salt beef and gherkin (don’t call it a pickle. It’s a bloody gherkin) beigel as it’s what these guys are known for. Walking into Beigel Bake and ordering a cheese beigel is kind of like walking into McDonald’s and ordering garden salad; I’m sure they’re not bad but coooome on.
The last time I went to Beigel Bake it was about 2am and the place was as rammed as always. There was a long, disorganised queue going from the counter at the front all the way to the back with a couple of workers asking if anybody in the queue wanted a beigel that didn’t contain salt beef… and everybody said no. They wanted that damn salt beef. I waited my turn and finally got my hands on the beautiful little bugger and sunk my teeth in the second we stepped foot outside
I’m yet to write up my review of Beigel Shop but I have visited Tongue & Brisket over on Leather Lane (a place I need to revisit) so I’ll save the Brick Lane beigel shop comparison until I’ve written up a piece on both and instead look at the differences between Beigel Bake and Tongue & Brisket.
There’s only two big difference between the two establishments, the most obvious being that Beigel Bake have gone with their trusty beigel whilst Tongue & Brisket serve their salt beef in between two slices of rye… and in all honesty, they’re both just as good as the other. There’s a nice buttery texture to the outside of Beigel Bake’s beigels and they practically melt in your mouth whilst Tongue & Brisket’s rye bread is super soft and fluffy. Some will prefer one or the other but I love both equally.
The other difference is the deciding factor for me… and that’s the temperature of the meat. Both T&B and Beigel Bake serve up some truly gorgeous and juicy beef but whilst T&B’s sandwich is an entirely cooled effort, Beigel Bake’s salt beef is lukewarm and man that’s a shame. Like I said in my T&B review, I’ve never been a massive fan of either beigel shops on Brick Lane and this is the reason. If these Brick Lane champions were to serve up some piping hot salt beef then this would probably be a different story but, sadly, they don’t.
That being said, it’s never stopped me walking through their doors and asking for another beigel but if you were to stick Tongue & Brisket in between Beigel Shop and Beigel Bake… I don’t think it’d be a hard choice for me.