Park's Bagels, Petaling Jaya

December 18, 2020

Carb-phobes, avert your eyes: A care pack of nine bagels and a bun has made our morning, sent from the ovens of Park's Bagels in Tropicana Gardens Mall. These are bagels with enough of a chew to give your jaw a workout without leaving it fatigued, characteristically denser than grocer-variety bread.

What distinguishes Park's Bagels further is diversity: Eight flavours of bagels, paired with 12 flavours of cream cheese - if our math is right (we abhor algebra!), that's nearly 100 possible combinations, with some more successful than others, of course.

The art of bagels isn't to be underestimated - crafting the most satisfying ones takes time and dedication. Parks's bagels (the name is a nod to its Korean-born, KL-based founder) require a full day of resting from the minute they're shaped to the moment they're ready for sale. Like pretzels, bagels are boiled to set their crust before their final trip to the oven, briefly at Park's so the crust remains thin and their interior texture isn't too tough.

Despite its bevy of flavours, Park's Bagels maintains a heart for fresh, never-frozen fundamentals done right, evoking Subang's dearly departed Cham Bagel Bakery (which became Brooklyn B for a couple of years). Our favourites here are the savoury combos (RM13 each) - a garlicky-golden bagel stuffed with jalapeño cream cheese and an onion bagel with spring onion cream cheese. Park's Bagels prepares its own thick-and-rich cream cheese, with fine-tuned flavours that stay pleasantly mild or mellow.

Fun with fruits: Poppyseed bagel with apricot cream cheese and blueberry bagel with cranberry cream cheese, studded with unmistakable bits and bites of genuine, honest-to-goodness fruit. They're lavishly generous with cream cheese here, so your tolerance for it will colour your perspective on Park's (some patrons may consider this perilously close to cloying). It's not quantity over quality though - Park's does an admirable job carefully determining how each individual flavour is instilled into both the bagels and their distinctive spreads, never too overpowering nor too subtle, so that dough and cheese shine together.

If desserts are your kind of carbs, choose these: A sesame-loaded bagel slathered with caramel cream cheese, a plain bagel with Oreo cream cheese, or most decadent of all, a wholewheat bagel made debauched with double chocolate cream cheese. None is too sugary, but all are indisputably indulgent - man was not meant to consume so many bagels in a single sitting.

Park's more nutritionally balanced bagels make for full meals - have the toasted wholewheat bagel with egg salad (RM21) or, even better, with smoked salmon, tomatoes, onions and cream cheese (RM27), the closest thing to bagels and lox for everyone who craves a Jewish deli in the Klang Valley.

Beyond bagels, Park's also offers the Korean cream cheese garlic bun that's increasingly trendy this year - fragrantly buttery but a bit sweeter, thanks to the cream cheese, than we might like of garlic bread.

Park's Bagels

CC-41, Tropicana Gardens Mall, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

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