When I was growing up, my best friend lived at Bondi Beach so I know all about the fantastic Jewish delis and the Paris cake shop (_the _place to go for cakes way back then and probably still is). I have an affinity for Jewish food, I am not sure why but perhaps it's because her mum was so lovely to me that I felt like I was part of the family. Glick's, founded by Mendel Glick, operating since the 1960s in Melbourne turns out some of the best real bagels (filled or unfilled), as well as an assortment of cakes, pizza, ready made foods and pastries. Reportedly turning out about 70,000 boiled bagels a week, it was a business built on the humble bread. Mendel Glick is in his 80s but still works at his business 6 days a week. I've made real boiled bagels before and they were absolutely the real deal - there is no comparison to a real boiled bagel to the bagel imposters out there, you know the ones I mean, that are merely round rolls with a hole in the centre.
Walking through the plastic PVC strip panels in the entranceway we see that on the right there is a display of various types of biscuits which you help yourself to with the tongs and pay per weight. I came in merely to perv and buy a bagel today but am lured by the selection of Jewish food on offer. Your Honour, I didn't mean to purchase but if you show me Gefilte fish, cheese blintzes and salmon patties you know I'm going to have to buy some. Indeed my husband who thinks I have just popped in to buy a couple of bagels simply rolls his eyes. I choose a few things and they pack them up for me. Things are ludicrously cheap with bagels at 90c-$1 each, gefilte fish patties for $1.60 up to a massive cabbage roll for the princely sum of $5.
Taking these home, we have these for a leisurely lunch. In fact I wanted to just have the bagels but my husband is eyeing off the food and eagerly suggests these for lunch. I start with the spicy salmon patty ($2.25). It's so very good although very light in the spice. We don't even bother heating this up as it's so good cold. The salmon is prevalent in the delicious flakiness of it and it's surrounded by a bronzed crumb crust. but not smelly as some salmon can be. My husband is a fan of this. Nigella has a recipe for Salmon cakes which I am itching to try after this.
I next try the Gefilte fish, deboned ground fish patties where the fish was traditionally ground together with eggs, onions and flour, matzoh meal or challah, and then stuffed into the skin of the deboned fish, giving it the name gefilte (filled or stuffed). Nowadays it's shaped into balls or oval patties and poached in a fish stock made from the head and bones of the fish. These are said to be popular among the Ashkenazi Jewish community. The patty, topped with a slice of carrot is beautifully soft and quite sweet in flavour although unmistakably fishy but in a good way. I adore it and wish I had 6 more. It's fairly light too but most definitely full of real fish.
I next try a Poppyseed bagel (90c). It's just as you want a bagel to be, chewy and dense and I can see why they churn out 70,000 of these.
I save the cinnamon and sultana bagel ($1) for my usual treatment, toasted with strawberry jam and tasty cheese. I used to have a blueberry bagel with jam and cheese for breakfast at work every Friday as a reward for surviving the working week.
I take a bite into the cold cheese blintz ($2) and almost spit it out. It's like eating a wet sponge. I heat this up and then try it and it's infinitely better. I'm sure we're meant to eat it warm as all of the excess water disappears giving it this wonderfully eggy crepe batter and subtle creamy cheese filling.
We try the enormous cabbage roll next ($5). It's stuffed with a tomato based filling of matzo meal with some hint of vegetables and herbs. There is a bitter taste to the filling that I can quite place and I don't particularly warm to it. I prefer rice stuffed cabbage rolls and whilst I enjoy the cabbage wrapping, I leave most of the filling behind.
Savouries done away with, we're onto the sweets. The cheese danish, a favourite of mine although I am fond of making danishes, I am even fonder of eating them. It needs some heating and once it is warm, the soft sweet cheese filling is lovely against the pillowy soft icing laden dough.
The Rugelach or Rogelach ($1) is a rolled cookie although it is more like a roleld pastry with a smear of chocolate side shaped like a mini croissant. it's not bad as a small snack but I admit I like cheese fillings best.
Glick's Cakes and Bagels
173 Bondi Road Bondi
Tel: +61 (02) 9386 9949
Open: 7 days a week
Monday - Thursday 7:00am to 6:00pm
Friday 6:00am to 4:00pm (April to October)
6:00am to 6:00pm (November to March)
Sunday 7:00am to 5:00pm
Also more locations in Melbourne, see link below