The buzz: Absolute Bagels is a bagel shop on Manhattan’s Upper West Side where the breakfast crowd queues out the door and around the corner and all the staff are Thai. No kidding. So it’s been a shame that all this time there have been no decent bagels in Bangkok. Sure, we have tiny, flavorless packs-of-three at various supermarkets or essentially rolls-with-holes at other breakfast chains, but our hearts and teeth have clamored for the unique taste, chewy interior and shiny crust of the real thing. Not only does BKK Bagel Bakery, a new deli in Maneeya Center, promise proper, boiled-then-baked bagels, they offer something even more valuable: that quintessential New York experience of standing in line for your bagel and cream cheese on your way to work.
The décor: Brooklyn bagel shop (blackboards with colored chalk) meets Dean & Deluca in this white-heavy deli space, complete with glass display case and counter-style seating. The decorations are still happening (the store opening was only at the beginning of the month), but expect a theme celebrating all things New York.
The food: They currently do five kinds of bagels: whole wheat, plain, sesame, cinnamon raisin and poppy seed and three kinds of cream cheese (including the Mediterranean yoghurt cheese labneh) all made by a local Israeli bagel enthusiast (did you know that the bagel is a Jewish bread?). You can also get a more intense sandwich, with choices like The Verazzano (with roast beef, saukraut and whole grain mustard), or the very traditional lox option (smoked salmon, cream cheese, onions and tomato). The menu will soon expand to offer other bagels (garlic and onion among top priorities) and non-bagel choices, so stay tuned.
The drinks: Caffeinated drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, as well as other soft drinks and freshly-squeezed orange juice.
The crowd: Hordes of nostalgic Americans, mostly, packing the place at lunchtime, buying bagels by the half dozen and throwing out requests for new future flavors. Mrigaa Sethi