PLAYMAKER
The Playmaker
Let's play
PLAYMAKER
  • It's Monday
    What day is it?
  • Now
    What time is it?
  • Anywhere in Sydney
    Where are you?
  • What do you feel like?
    What do you feel like?
  • And what else?
    And what else?
  • LET'S PLAY
FOOD & DRINK

The Best Bagels in Sydney

From a new beachside deli to a bagel drive-thru and an unassuming inner city cafe, Sydney's bagel game is strong.
By Zach Karpinellison
July 08, 2020
  shares

The Best Bagels in Sydney

From a new beachside deli to a bagel drive-thru and an unassuming inner city cafe, Sydney's bagel game is strong.
By Zach Karpinellison
July 08, 2020
  shares

THE BEST BAGELS IN SYDNEY

From a new beachside deli to a bagel drive-thru and an unassuming inner city cafe, Sydney's bagel game is strong.

Bagels are a contentious food. When Cynthia Nixon ran for Governor of New York in 2018, Twitter reeled when she revealed her breakfast of choice was smoked salmon and cream cheese on a cinnamon and raisin bagel. This culinary collision invited take after take and some intrepid foodies even tried it for themselves — the verdict: edible (just). In Sydney, a city with few bagel opinions, Nixon's faux pas barely registered.

Bagels landed here a long time ago but have only recently picked up steam. You can find them in places old and new all over our city, so: what should you look for in a bagel? A great bagel is always chewy. The gluten developed by boiling a bagel in poaching liquid before whacking it in a blistering oven is the secret to its distinctive texture and taste. At a minimum, you're looking for something with a little more chew than a bread roll.

From there, bagel bliss is achieved by layering toppings and striking a harmonious balance. Each bite should be texturally interesting, and smack of salt, sugar and tang. This is why lox (smoked salmon), cream cheese, onions, and capers is such a classic choice.

Here are four bagel makers to please everyone from beginner to die-hard fanatic.

  • 4

    Let’s start with a new place. Budding Bondi takeaway venture Lox in a Box offers the best bagels for a picnic lunch (or brunch) down by the water. A thoughtful menu guides your choices, with only four options all served with a lush schmear of cream cheese spiked with lemon, dill and shallots. These bagels are on the lighter end of the chewy spectrum, but this makes them more versatile. A plain, sesame or poppyseed bagel from Lox in a Box is the perfect medium for bright veggies or egg salad. Alternatively, the smoky lox or salt beef bagels both pack a flavour punch without being too heavy. Your choice of bagel is neatly placed in a cardboard box ready to be seasoned by the seaside air. Head down to the sand just ten minutes away and enjoy your grown-up packed lunch (extra points for pairing it with the sour pickles and crunchy chips).

    Image: Kimberley Low

    READ MORE
  • 3

    Staying in the east, head over to Iggy’s for this author’s personal Sydney favourite. Yes, it’s a bakery, not a cafe, that offers the chewiest bagels in the state. But, as you’d expect, that’s it — you won’t find any lox or schmear here. So, pick up your preferred bagel variety — the poppyseed is the best — head home and customise it with tasty fillings and accoutrements of your choice. For something savoury, try layering smoked fish with a creamy cheese and finish it off with piquant onion or capers. If you’ve ever bought packaged bagels from a supermarket you’ll know you have to toast them. Visiting Iggy’s for freshly baked bagels is an opportunity to buck that trend, channelling a New Yorker’s proclivity for the untoasted. Wrestling with an Iggy’s bagel as seeds go flying is a messy but addictive kind of eating. Iggy’s laser-focused approach to its breads and bagels pays off and it’s said the bakery’s hearth-baked method creates bagels unlike any other in the world.

    READ MORE
  • 2

    Brooklyn Boys might as well be in Brooklyn. Its mix of hardcore authenticity and boundary-pushing bagel engineering is both hidden and ubiquitous in that hipster kind of way. The team’s warehouse is in Marrickville. Usually, if you were looking to try one of these bagels for yourself, you’d need to head to a farmers market — but, the team has just opened a bagel drive-thru. So, you can pick them up straight from the source. With special creations for holidays, like a wild tri-coloured Independence Day bagels, as well as a reliably chewy array of rye and seeded bagels, you’ll be hard pressed to find one you don’t like. This bagelry is great for sweet-tooths, too, with options like the famous blueberry bagel, a hypnotically spiralled rainbow bagel, and even – yes – the cinnamon-raisin. Slap on some of its house-made cream cheese and you have a simple and moreish breakfast that can’t be beat.

    READ MORE
  • 1

    For novices wanting to dip their feet into the world of bagels, one underrated option is Cafe Ella in Darlington. This inner city breakfast and lunch spot makes and boils its bagels in-house. There are plenty of options on the menu, but look closely and you’ll find a bagel offering that’s sincere and low-key. Try the blueberry or poppyseed bagel with ricotta and jam for a warm and gratifying sweet breakfast, or order the savoury poppyseed bagel with classic toppings of lox, cream cheese and capers, and a delightful Sydney cafe salad on the side. Keeping bagel traditions alive but relaxing the stakes, Cafe Ella is an inviting and rewarding lunch spot.

    READ MORE

Top Image: Lox in a Box by Kimberley Low

  •   shares
      shares
  • VIEW COMMENTS
Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x
Counter