The Hungry Vegan Calling all vegans. It’s November and that can only mean one thing: World Vegan Month.* And the mother of all Scottish bagel eateries, Bross Bagels, is celebrating too. Named for owner Larah (or Mama) Bross, the popular bakery started life in Portobello and over the last four years has gained an epic amount of momentum on the Edinburgh food scene, expanding to Bruntsfield, Stockbridge and Leith.
The idea behind the store was simple: Mama Bross comes from Montreal, the other bagel capital of the world alongside New York, and missed a decent bagel. “After living in Scotland for 13 years without any bagels (like literally begging my parents or friends to smuggle them in from Montreal when they visited and hiding them in the freezer and only using during desperate times) I had an idea to open a bagel shop. My partner Marc said yes (he never says yes to my ideas) – and Bross Bagels was born,” she told Hidden Edinburgh.
Fast forward to one rainy November afternoon: not the best day for a walk along Portobello’s seaside promenade but the perfect day to sit in the arched windows of Bross, catching up with friends.
As with other locations, the decor is all neon pink bagel-shaped signs, brickwork and massive menus above the counter, the catchphrase “fill your hole” guaranteed to be printed somewhere. And it’s absolutely buzzing, a veritable queue at the counter for their lunchtime fix.
Among the choices, including fries and pizza bagels, is a healthy smattering of vegan options, including (and on my list for next time) The Hungry Vegan: smashed avo, cherry vine tomatoes, chilli oil and rock salt. This being a bagel store, controversially – and for reasons unknown even to me – I decided on a hot dog, the Vegan Plain Jane. If you’re keen for something simple that bucks Bross’ own bagel trend, it was delicious (although to be fair I was rather side-eyeing my friend’s Buffanono, which includes deep-fried cauliflower, buffalo sauce and Montreal slaw). The vegan bagels and buns are also egg-free.
Standing up from the bench in the window, rain splattering against the glass, it would have been easy to just stay, enjoying the busy-ness of the bakery. But, in true Terminator style, I’ll be back.
*Vegan options are available all year round so absolutely no need to limit your Bross visits to November. And if you’d like to decide ahead of time on your lunchtime bagel, the menu is a click away. More info at 0131 629 1860 – HQ@brossbagels.com – brossbagels.com