A bagel is a bagel- it’s not a roll with a hole
Max Bagels is an exciting new pocket-sized bagel shop on Bree Street, Cape Town. Their fabulous bagels overflow with flavour and fillings; this is the perfect spot to grab a bite on the go. We caught up with the owners, Matthew Freemantle and Andrew Kai. Here’s what they had to say…
We found this space a year ago; at first it was the base for our paella business. Andrew was in New York for a little while last year around the time we were trying to settle on a concept for the space. When he got back we flicked through his pictures and started chatting about the shots of bagels packed with fillings. That’s when the penny dropped and we realised that we had identified a niche market that was a perfect fit for the space. The name came from us both having a nephew named Max. We also wanted to get away from the whole artisanal naming and keep it simple, approachable and fun for people. The idea is that everyone is welcome; even though we are in hipster central we don’t want to prescribe to any particular group.Who designed the interior? Jakob Basson was the fitter and designer who then commissioned bespoke pieces from Xandre Kriel. The corporate identity, as well as the plasticine artworks, are by Ben Johnson and Dale Lawrence.
Smoked trout, crème cheese, capers and red onion. This is something people are used to eating so it is often their first choice. Salt beef is the up-and-coming choice. Most people don’t quite know what this is and often mistake it for something that it’s not.
Originally, the bagel was made with a hole so that vendors could run a piece of string through a bunch of them and tie the ends for customers to take home. There’s a lot of mythology around the shape – some refer to it as being spiritual in that in symbolises the circle of life. Others say it is purely practical: because the dough is quite dense, a hole allows for faster baking. The true origin of the shape goes way back to a Turkish invasion of Austria, if I’m not mistaken. The bread that was baked as a tribute was crescent shaped and hence a bagel, a crescent rolled to join at the ends, was symbolic of that victory. Do some reading – it’s all quite fascinating.
Definitely Rosetta coffee in the morning and perhaps a freshly pressed juice. Our juices are classified as red, green and orange to keep it simple. This also allows us to always use produce that is in season, steering away from imported fruit and veg.