I believe 2015 is the year of the bagel here in Lebanon, a trend that took some time before reaching the country despite its existence long time ago with the boom of Tribeca in Monot which is closed today.
Launching a new product, Dunkin Donuts is selling "round" products and has expanded their menu from Donuts to Bagels, offering a choice of sweet and savory items to start your day in style.
We chose to visit the Zalka highway branch, the one located next to Green Falafel, on our way from Beirut to Antelias.
As you enter, a large display of donuts welcomes you, in which three containers offer different types of bagels: Plain, multi cereal, poppy seeds and sesame. We chose the sesame bagel with turkey and cheese and the plain with cream cheese.
How it works:
- The man behind the counter wears nylon gloves
- The bagels are taken from the box and cut down the middle
- The bagels are toasted in a simple household toaster
- Afterwards, the plain bagel was spread with cream cheese using an ice cream spoon
- The sesame one is filled with cheese and ham and sent to the oven to melt
- After melting, the bagel is filled with lettuce, olives, pickles and tomatoes
My first impression:
- Toasted? Why would a bagel be toasted anyway? Those lines of toasting are not even appetizing
- The bagels look like simple French bread emptied in the middle
- They lack the shine of a real bagel
- Using a non-industrial toaster makes you wait too much for a "quick" breakfast
Now for the tasting:
- It was not too easy to bite into them... A very thick envelope wrapping a chewy filling, exactly like a French baguette. A hard envelope, and inside a chewy load of bread. So, for the bagel, it wasn’t what I expected.
- The ingredients are good, especially the turkey and cheese, and they were generously filled.
- The Philadelphia cream cheese is a perfect way to start your day with a simple and tasty breakfast... if the bagels were good.
My personal opinion:
- Let's start by filling those bagel baskets up: We ordered the last two and it was only 9am.
- For me, a bagel should be homogenous in texture, with an enjoyable chewy heart, and nothing thick or sticky on the outside
- The main issue here is this toasting: Are we doing a toasted French baguette, like the ones we used to buy at the school cantina? When did bagels start being toasted?
- The toasting, if not pushed to the extreme to make the bun crunchy, transforms the sandwich into a chewy mass
- Toasting followed by oven heating... A perfect recipe for extreme chewiness, which is felt in the turkey bagel.
- If not consumed in minutes, the bun is unpleasant to eat
Conclusion: Not sure if I'll bagel again.
The good side of it is that I discovered that Green Falafel offers a large selection for breakfast, which I will add to my list of places to visit.
So, after a single bite of bagel, I focused on enjoying the coffee before continuing my day of discoveries.