Bross Bagels have been dishing up delicious Montreal-style bagels to the people of Edinburgh and beyond since 2017. Their modern made-to-order bagels have become legendary, bringing a hole lot of joy to brunches and lunches for those dining at their five shops across Edinburgh in Portobello, Leith, Stockbridge, Bruntsfield, and the West End. Now, everyone’s favourite Edinburgh food spot has officially opened the doors of its biggest venue to date – a shop, 30 cover dining space, and an in-house bakery at the former bank building at 177 Portobello High Street.
The new venue sees the brand relocate from their first premises in Portobello to a venue triple the size. Since February, the new bakery has been operating on a take-away and collection service, but the finishing touches were made to the interior of the venue – designed by Cuzzons – last week. Doors opened to reveal a menu and interior that transports customers to Montreal, complete with the tastes, scents, sounds, and interiors all reflective of the Canadian city’s iconic café culture. High stools and wood furnishings meet sleek metallic finishes that frame an open kitchen and traditional deli-style counter, with pops of the iconic pink neon that has become a beacon for the brand’s bagel shops across the city.
The Portobello branch will be open seven days a week from 9.00am-5.30pm, and will also establish the brand’s first licensed premises. The new venue is set to serve up founder Larah ‘Mama’ Bross’ take on a Bloody Caeser – ‘The Bloody Bross’, alongside local Leith brewers Pilot Beer and a selection of wine from Vegan brand Nice.
Customers at the Bross Bakery will be able to watch as the team of first-class bakers work to create the delights that Bross Bagels has become known for. Featuring the UK’s only bagel baking Morretti-Forni stone fired oven, the new premises will allow Bross to produce all of their own bagels in-house, serving all four of the brand’s other city venues and baking over 15,000 bagels a week. I went down to visit the new premises and, after a quick demo from senior baker James, I was even allowed to get my hands dirty and have a go at making my own bagels in the kitchen. James explained: “All of our bagels are prepared from scratch, the dough is rolled by hand, boiled, and cooked in the stone fired oven each day. It’s probably the freshest bread you can get, we get here at 6am and the first bagels are coming out of the oven by 7am. The whole process start-to-finish with a double prove takes about an hour, and at the minute we’re making over 1,200 bagels every day”.
My fresh out of the oven bagel got whisked over to the deli counter to be transformed into a Bross Chicken Parm – chicken schnitzel meets melted mozzarella and jalapeños, dripping with marinara sauce.
The new bakery has also meant that Bross can launch their nationwide next day delivery service for fresh, handmade authentic Montreal bagels, starting from £5 for half a dozen bagels, with a wide range of choice available included plain, poppy seed, and pretzel bagels.
Alongside the opening of their latest venue, Bross Bagels have launched a new menu made up of Bross’ existing classic hot and cold bagel collection, alongside new street food favourites with a modern, playful twist including Hot Dogs (£6.50) – a New York street-style hot dog in a bagel roll, with a vegan alternative also on offer - and Filthy Fries (£6.00). There are even some sweet treats available such as vegan chocolate fudge brownies – which I can confirm are delicious!
The bakery opened following an initial crowdfunding phase, with more than £125,600 raised by Bross Bagels ‘Shareholers’, allowing the business to bring the bakery to life, and illustrating the dedicated and loyal community that the brand has established in Edinburgh.
Bross Bagels’ new location will also become a pop-up hub showcasing the best of Scotland’s culinary talent with the ‘come one, come all’ conviviality of Montreal Café Culture. A pre-launch pop-up with Michelin Star chef James Murray and his team from JFC, Jimmy’s Fried Chicken, saw queues from the Portobello Bakery to the Promenade, and there are plans to bring more exciting collaborations to life over the summer.
Larah Bross - affectionately known across the city as Mama Bross – is committed to keeping the art of hand-baking bagels alive at her in-house bakery, with a true passion and commitment to tradition. She explains: “Before I opened our first Bross Bagels shop, I set out to create authentic Montreal bagels that reminded me of a taste of home – something I just could not find here in the UK. I had to get my mum to send me bagels all the way from Canada so I could work with our bakers to perfect the flavour and consistency. I’m so proud we’re now producing authentic bagels as good as I could find in Montreal, here in Edinburgh - in our very own dedicated bakery”.
“Teaming Montreal bagels with the best New York deli fillings, made with the best Scottish ingredients is hard to beat, but now we’ve added our own signature Bloody Caesers, beer, and hotdogs, it’s a summer hole-stuffing stop you won’t want to miss’.
Bross Bagels is also set to open Bross Deli – a brand new concept and their biggest shop yet in St James Quarter later this year.