Tick. Tick Tick. It was 2am on a Sunday night. Or is that Monday morning? I often have difficulty sleeping on a Sunday night, but this particular night, was particularly frustrating. Blue Eyes and President Clinton would not be able to make our usual 7am appointment at the gym, and as it stood, I had two options : Get 3 hours sleep and just train alone, or accept my failure with a rest day. Tick. Tick. Tick. Abort mission. I would live to lift another day.
I stumbled out of bed at 7, got ready, and poured myself out of the house, irritable and exhausted without my dose of endorphins. I continued to drift in and out of consciousness on the bleak and bland district line, until finally, a familiar voice proclaimed that “the next station is Whitechapel”. Sigh. “Let’s g-what on earth?”. I stood on the platform. Staring at a plastered wall where just last week, the stairs I had been using for the last four years stood. Where on earth were the stairs? I didn’t feel great this morning either, but I still came in to do my job. Am I still asleep? Is this a nightmare? Am I dead? Is this hell? – An eternity of being trapped in the dark and dingy belly of Whitechapel station?
After looping around like a lost child, and then realising I could just follow the other commuters, I finally escaped the new station, a clean and modern entity that just seemed out of place in Whitechapel. As I strolled down the new walkway, still dazed and confused, I noticed a number of new little quick-stop shops, and one in particular managed to catch my eye – “Bagels and Waffles”. The chicken served here is halal and HMC-approved.
After employing the expertise of a private detective, I can inform you that Bagels and Waffles serves a range of bagels and waffles. Their bagel selection includes tuna, salmon and chicken options, whilst their waffles range from “plain syrup” to “oreo delight”, and everything in between.
First to be sampled, was the tandoori chicken bagel. The bagel itself was fresh and of a good quality, with a soft, thick, and dense body that tore away with ease, and practically melted in the mouth. The contents of the bagel however, were a little thinner in build. The tandoori chicken was of a good quality but carried only a mild flavour, which was otherwise dominated by the mellow, creamy flavour of the melted cheese. Moreover, there wasn’t a great deal of chicken to begin with – perhaps no more than tablespoon dollop or two. Even this was a far more generous portion than that which I encountered on my second visit two days ago. On this occasion, I ordered the peri-peri chicken bagel, and two days later, I’m still searching for the chicken. Aside from cheese and salad, all that could be observed within the two bagel halves, was a smear of chicken breast, which was soft and tender, but ultimately scarce and lacking in flavour – thoroughly disappointing for a “house special”.
Tandoori chicken bagel
Peri-Peri chicken bagel
Both the tandoori and peri-peri bagels cost £3.95. Generally, bagels range from £2.45 to £3.95, whilst waffles sit in the £2.50-£5 range. Other items such as soups and drinks cost around £2. Based on the bagels alone, Bagels and Waffles score fairly poorly when it comes to value. For £3.95, you’re left with a bagel lunch that has very little in the way of actual substance – aside from the bagel, and for exactly the same price, you can get your hands on a big, filling foccaccia or baguette from La Fuga cafe – just five minutes away, or a slightly smaller, (and slightly lower quality) panini from Marrakech cafe or Zaza’s. Ultimately, if you have a small appetite, these bagels may satisfy you. But, if you’re a big eater like myself, your stomach will probably feel betrayed and neglected.
Whilst I can find fault in their bagels, I can’t find fault in their service. Staff are friendly, polite, and very efficient. You’ll literally be in and out with a bagel in under a minute. (Probably because they don’t fill them with very much).
More likely than not, Bagels and Waffles are still finding their footing, and covering some start-up costs. But with so many quick-stop lunch spots in the area, they really need to bring some substance to the table to fare a fighting chance, and in my opinion, their bagels aren’t quite substantial enough. I have yet to try their waffles, and who knows – they may be a little more inspiring, but as it stands, it doesn’t look like Bagels and Waffles will become one of my regular lunch destinations any time soon.
Bagels and Waffles