bagelThe eyes of this New York Jew in London didn’t make it very far down the dinner specials board at the Canton Arms, a gastropub with serious chops in the Stockwell district, south of the Thames. They read the top line, doubled back and read it again:

Smoked Salmon, Horseradish & Toasted Beigel £5.60

Don’t trust my eyes? That makes two of us. But here it is, as plain as chalk, already sold out by 8:17pm:

bagelA toasted bagel with smoked salmon as a dinner starter? Amusing. Horseradish cream in place of cream cheese? Intriguing. A house baked bagel, er, beigel from the kitchen of a London pub? Staggering.

Draped with fat-glistening slices of silky smoked salmon and a cool cucumber garnish, the bagel was a lovely thing. Not too bready, not too sweet, just chewy enough. And though I don’t foresee spreading a schrmear of horseradish cream on my own bagels in the future near or far I enjoyed the intermittent tickle of wasabe nose.

Better still, the horseradish cleared my passages for this eureka moment:

Hey, Canton Arms, I’ve got an idea: Take your famous foie gras toastie [grilled sandwich] . . .

bagel. . . and move it off bread and onto your bagel.

bagelOn the subject of relocations, legal foie gras toasties might be a reason to leave even San Francisco and an unobstructed view of the Golden Gate Bridge to take up residence in Stockwell, near the unglamorous stretch of South Lambeth Road upon which the Canton Arms sits. (Foie gras was banned last month in California).

Introduce a foie gras bagel and – who knows? – Tony Bennett might move his heart to Stockwell, too.