By Bea Learmouth, Second Year Politics and Russian
The Croft Magazine // The bagel has long been a staple amongst students. They're quick, delicious and cheap, and until recently, easily acquired from the nearby Sainsbury’s (nowadays, the shelf often seems empty before I can get my hands on a packet). Considering the bagel’s popularity, Little Bagel Co. seemed destined for greatness the moment it arrived on the triangle. But is it worth Bristol students forking out that little bit extra? Or should they stick to their £1.30 bagels smothered in Lurpak and their £3.50 meal deals? Planning my visit last week, I intended to find out.
The Little Bagel Co. is situated between the likes of Caffe Nero and the increasingly popular Juice Jar. Both fan favourites amongst students, Little Bagel Co. was up against tough competition the moment it opened its doors. However, after my two visits, I have to say it’s hard to come by anywhere on the triangle which quite rivals the authenticity and originality of this seemingly humble little bagel shop.
On my first visit, I opted for the Reuben Bagel, the Compost Cookie and an Iced Americano. My bagel and coffee came quickly despite it being busy when we went in, and we sat on one of the stools dotted around the window. Considering the inside is rather spacious and the surrounding area lacks places to sit, I think it would benefit from having a few more tables and chairs around. Nevertheless, we managed to secure a seat overlooking the road, which is also a great little people-watching spot.
In the Reuben bagel, the smoky pastrami perfectly complimented the tangy sauerkraut and Russian dressing. It’s an unusual combination I hadn’t tried before and was slightly apprehensive about, but the risk had definitely been worth taking. The bagel itself was nothing short of superb. It has the perfect crunch to it and the chewiness leaves your jaw feeling slightly stiff, whilst also managing to have a light and fluffy texture on the inside. Having never really had a freshly-baked bagel myself, I was shocked by just how much better it was than any supermarket bagel.
There wasn’t anything particularly special about my Iced Americano, but then again it was far better coffee than most can muster up in their grotty student kitchen, and the quality of the coffee definitely surpasses most coffee shop chains. Their main attraction is the bagels, so they can be forgiven for that. The Compost Cookie, on the other hand, is most definitely something special. Despite its rather unappetising name, the Compost Cookie is perhaps the best cookie I’ve ever had in Bristol. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what’s actually in it which is credit to its originality, but it was the perfect amalgamation of flavours and textures. It is also surprisingly good value at £1.95, and clearly already very popular as there was only one remaining by the time we left.
Having thought I would be ready to wrap my review up at this point, Little Bagel Co. decided to come out with a brand new breakfast menu which made for the perfect excuse to visit again. I was initially going to criticise the fact that the BEC, breakfast bagel was only served until 10 am, a time of day Bristol students rarely get to experience. To my delight, they announced a breakfast menu that is now served until 12 pm, a much more realistic time for students. I chose the classic BEC which contains bacon, egg and American cheese. As before, the bagel was perfectly chewy and crunchy but they were perhaps slightly stingy on the filling considering it’s £6 and, theoretically, something I could make at home. I also don’t think the American cheese worked so well here, I understand their principle of being faithful to the bagel shops in New York, but its artificial flavour always puts me off. In spite of that, it was still exceptionally tasty and a great morning pick-me-up.
Overall, the Little Bagel Co. is a classic yet creative little shop which caters well to the Bristol student. The prices are, as seems frequent these days, at the high end of what I am prepared to pay considering my student budget. I think everyone should taste a freshly baked bagel at least once, though, and this is certainly cheaper than a plane ticket to New York, not forgetting the added bonus of the Compost Cookie! The Little Bagel Co. knew what they were doing when they opened up on the triangle, and in my view, they’ve wholeheartedly earned that coveted spot and are well on their way to earning a place in Bristol students’ hearts.
Featured image: Bea Learmouth
What do you think about the new Little Bagel Co.? Let us know!