Bagel Boys do good bagel | Image credit: Daniel Maddock
Bagels are the doughnut of the bread world: a little ring of all that is good and pure. They're the great bridge between sweet and savoury, breakfast and lunch. Basically, we’re fans.
Bagels have the power to harness fillings that just seem too jazzy for the humble sanga, lifting your lunch game to new levels of winning. Whether schmeared or stuffed, here's where we choose to get our bagel on in Brisbane.
While Bowen Arrow is pared-back in appearance, its bagels are anything but. This Bowen Hills cafe is famed for a rotating range of round bread, which are either spliced and topped with crazy delicious combinations or piled-high with seasonal fillings.
Toppings have been known to include cinnamon-glazed pear with ricotta and walnut, and a summery raspberry and pomegranate combo with lemon cream cheese and orange zest honey. Our faves among the fully packed bagels are the sweet potato rosti with cashew cream and salad, and the post-gym perfect 'bro bagel' – bacon, egg, haloumi, hollandaise, spinach and mushroom.
The Tiller Coffee
Sorry Alderley, but we're spilling the beans on your long-kept local secret. Holed up in a rust-red shipping container, The Tiller Coffee folk are known for their java (will that be cold-drip, AeroPress or filter?) and their well-stuffed bagels. Your too-chewy supermarket variety these ain’t!
Think dark rye bagels polka-dotted with sunflower seeds or the timeless poppyseed, holding onto bacon, avo and rocket, or vego-friendly mushroom and egg. Fillings come and go but grilled peach with minty yoghurt and sweet dukkah is forever (at least we wish it was).
It didn't take us long to cotton on to Wavell Heights newcomer Cafe Noma – we can sniff out a good bagel from 100 paces. Good old-fashioned, flavour-filled breakfast and lunch is the order of the day at Cafe Noma.
Their all-day express breakkie includes a reliable New York style bagel, with your choice of dill-ightful smoked salmon or ham benedict for – get this – less than seven bucks! It could well be the cheapest bene in town and Noma definitely doesn't skimp on portions.
If you can’t enjoy a New York-style bagel in its heartland, a jaunt out to NKB Express at Indooroopilly is the next best thing. Pull up a pew in a leather booth, pretend you don’t see those Coney Island waffles and get your belly ready for bagel time!
Take your pick from the New Yorker (smoked salmon, cream cheese and capers on poppyseed), Carnegie (pastrami, sauerkraut and mustard on rye) and the breakfast bagel (egg, bacon, avo, feta and relish on white). To drink? A Chocolate Oreo shake. Your diet? Fuggedaboutit.
Where do you think all these perfectly boiled breads are coming from? Some kitchen-bound superhero who tip-toes into cafes every morning with a warm batch of bagels for the good citizens of Brisbane? Well, you're right. Their names are Ian and Ben and their capes read 'The Bagel Boys'. We salute these gallant heroes and their selfless mission.
The Boys operate a daily bagel run to a long, long, LONG list of cafes and delis around the southeast, including some of the cafes on this very list! They also have a standalone Bagel Bar on Adelaide Street where you can grab a half dozen buns or a tasty lunch for no more than $10.
Bagels for breakfast, bagels for lunch – this is the way of the world at CBD coffee nook Cawfee. The Queen Street cafe is at a perfect crossroads for office workers to forego their sad desk lunch in favour of flavour. Plus, we love acting all cultured when we order our cawww-feeee.
Cawfee gives the bagel pride of place on their menu, with a daily selection of savoury and sweet possibilities. Start the day with a blueberry bagel glued together with jam and cream cheese and DIY your own bagel creation for lunch.
There’s arguably no better way to start the day than with a robust breakky bagel. Paddington’s Scout plies theirs with fried egg, kaiserfleisch (super tasty German ham), cheddar, tomato, relish, aioli and rocket. Add a pot of chai tea and your favourite broadsheet and you’re set to whittle away a weekend morning.
That said, it’s lunchtime when the bagel is most celebrated at Scout. Current incarnations include smoked salmon with pickled beetroot, horseradish mayo, cos lettuce and herbed cream cheese, and pulled pork with slaw, buttermilk dressing, cucumber and jalapeno mayo.