You know the man, and you know the menu. You’ve popped in and out having a casual chat and enjoying the smells and tastes of the hour. We wanted to try something off the menu and bring you the best of Reading. What makes a student more Reading-y than eating a huge a bagel in the midst of RUSU Elections?
We struck a deal with the man himself to get our hands on a bagel with ALL the toppings listed, a multitude of sauces and warmed to perfection: an all Spark exclusive. In the building at 8 am, arriving in the line with several customers to boot, the famous Bagel Man gently unleashes the power of the every-topping bagel. It is piled high with meats, cheeses, sauces, vegetables, unidentified toppings that I did not realize even were on the menu.
All that was left to answer was the question, “Would you like it toasted?”
Popping out of the microwave was a warm surprisingly well put together bagel. The bagel was plain of itself, but the inside was pouring with the contrary. He warned me, “Make sure that you don’t remove the sticks or everything will fall apart.” Four little sticks kept an explosion from seeing the world too soon. Wrapped carefully in tin foil, the journey was set.
I take a seat in front of the shop, stared at the bagel trying to figure out how to pick it up never mind eat it.
“Journalism looks delicious” stated Ollie Weeden, hanging up his banner in the corridor.
“That bagel looks amazing!” exclaimed Tash Travers sticking up some posters.
It was time to start the challenge. I stared it down. It is going to fit into my mouth, it is going to fit into my stomach. Half the struggle is mental.
The Bagel Man pops outside, “You might want to eat that soon because there’s salmon in there…so you should try and eat it in an hour.”
With the first bite, the experience starts off delicious. It is warm, hearty and enticing. Bacon is the first thing to hit your mouth with a soft bite of falafels covered in cheese, sweet chili and mayonnaise. A trail of meats follow—chicken, chorizo, turkey, ham, frankfurter sausage, meatball and pepperoni. The meatiness is almost too rich and makes you feel like you’re trying to bulk up on muscles.
Half-time. It’s the center and I start to realize there are very weird things that you can put in bagels. Finding an odd pineapple right before an immense bite, cream cheese clumping in the middle, pakoras and then…tuna. The fishy sense hits you like a scaly treat that should not be there. Most unexpected in its entrance and squishy in texture, I realize that some things are not meant to be eaten together. To get to the middle was almost 10 minutes, now for the rest.
The vegetables were the most problematic. With lettuce, cucumber, tomato and sweet peppers the absorption into the bread becomes a sponge for the goodness oozing. The hummus is a bit weird at this point. It’s wet. My fingers are wet. I smell like ketchup and sweet chilli. Not sure if the smell is getting a little to me at this point.
The rest of the trial was painful. It took me another half an hour to finish the rest. The bagel looked mostly unidentifiable. I was left alone amongst the posters and banners and left to struggle with the few bites that remained.
Then it was the last bite. It can be safely described as a soggy blob of bread and ham doused in an awkward blur of gooey cheese and mayo. I think I saw a little bit of pakora floating about. But that could’ve been just my stomach. I don’t think I was in the right frame of mind to describe it fully.
I got up slowly and went back into the shop saying thank you to its maker. Something so godly was a little incredible to swallow, but a teary eyed experience. A little bloated I asked the Bagel Man what he would name his fine creation.
With a price tag of £14.50, this all topping bagel was worth the feat of any foodie to try. Luckily we had the chomps to try out this Spark exclusive. I shouldn’t have eaten dinner last night. I wiped my mouth.