It’s rather fabulous when you discover a way to make your
favourite thing even better. My love affair with smoked salmon and cream cheese
started with my first job, working for a wedding caterer, where I had
unrestricted access to a whole lot of canapés – well, I say unrestricted, but
perhaps I was supposed to restrict myself. No matter.
Quite a few years on, and still in love with bright pink
fish, I was sauntering home through the centre of Bath with the intention of picking
up lunch for me and Mike, when I passed a tiny
orange shop on Upper Borough Walls and impulsively popped my head in. It turned
out to be crammed (it was a very tiny shop indeed) with bagels and tempting
fillings, and since I’d never tried a bagel before, and was keen to remedy this
gap in my foodie experience, I decided to grab a Classic Smoked Salmon, with
cream cheese, fresh lemon juice and cracked black pepper.
It would be rather dramatic of me to say that it was a life-changing
experience, but it was certainly a mouth-wateringly fabulous one. The combination
of fresh bagels, plain but with a chewy crust and a fluffy inside, set off the
richness of the smoked salmon and the cream cheese was thick and, well, creamy.
I must admit that although I’ve been back several times (twice in one week, oh
dear) I’ve stuck with my favourite new sandwich and neglected to try any of the
other flavours, but rest assured, there are different bagels and fillings
aplenty to sample here. The Whole Bagel has also now moved to spacious new
premises a few doors down, with space to sit (outside or inside) and even more
choices to be had - the chocolate brownies are particularly deserving of a
mention, as they are gloriously rich and squidgy.
This really is one of those nigh-on perfect lunch spots: you
can grab your bagel in double quick time, even if there is a queue, as the
bagellistas (a word I’ve coined myself - you may use it if you like) are super speedy at preparing them
(although you can also phone ahead), the prices are fabulously reasonable, considering that these plump little beauties are far more filling than a
sandwich, and there are enough exciting flavours going on to liven up the most
boring Monday or long-drawn-out Friday. Go there, go there soon, and make
sure the first bagel you try is the smoked salmon & cream cheese.