One of the must-visit spots on Brick Lane - the 24-hour Beigel Bake. It dates back to 1974 (my first time there was 1994). The place exudes a retro charm, everyone seems to be there for their beigels - they sell up to 7,000 per day! There are various types of filled beigels - one of the most popular is the salt beef with mustard. This place gets especially busy on weekends.
The beef brisket were cured for 5 hours:
My favourite is the one containing a fillet of brined salmon (lox) on cream cheese (£2). Best ever.
Older Jews come here for the chollahs (£1.10 for a “small” one - believe me, it’s huge!)
Their rival, The Beigel Shop, two doors away, is actually older (Est. 1855). Beigel Bake founders, Asher and Sammy Cohen, started out working for their older brother who owned The Beigel Shop, before they branched out on their own in 1974.
Locals know the two bakeries as “The White One” (Beigel Bake) and “The Yellow One” (Beigel Shop).
Beigel Shop nowadays offers the slightly sweetish rainbow beigels. I was told that Beigel Bake chose to stick to tradition and not have rainbow beigels on their menu. I didn’t see any when I was at Beigel Bake last week, though their web-site seems to indicate that they’ve relented and offer those.
Spitalfields in the 19th-century used to be a largely Jewish quarter, before a wave of South Asian, mainly Sylheti-Bangladeshi immigrants, transformed the place, and the local synagogue became a mosque. Beigel Bake and Beigel Shop are the only two leftovers of the old Jewish neighbourhood on Brick Lane - and the end of the street near Whitechapel is lined with Bangladeshi curry houses and South Asian grocery stores and bakeries. These days, one sometimes catches a rare glimpse of the old Jewish persona amidst a largely Bangladeshi-Muslim presence.
159 Brick Lane
London E1 6SB, UK
Tel: +44 20 7729 0616
Open: 24 hours