Bagels and Beans is a chain of fast-casual restaurants throughout The Netherlands offering take-out & eat-in bagels, salad, yogurts, coffee & cakes with a great range of healthy options.
The standardised Bagels and Beans online menu presents numerous gluten free, veggie and vegan options. There are also some unusual and very interesting dishes for the more adventurous foodie. Of course I tried them! Finally, the gluten free dessert option is the single stand out best gluten free dessert I have enjoyed from a chain restaurant. Ever. That’s a BIG deal!
Bagels and Beans for the gluten free diner
Prior to visiting a Bagels and Beans I asked their HQ how confidently they could cater for Coeliacs. The very reasonable response included the caveat that lots of gluten was being handled in the food preparation areas. However I was given assurance that in addition to availability of gluten free bagels there were protocols in place to avoid cross-contamination. Also highlighted was that on-site staff would take extra care when preparing dishes for those with gluten allergy or intolerance. Good enough. Time to visit.
I was thoroughly impressed by the staff at the two branches I visited. My servers were familiar with the implications of being coeliac. I was shown a glossy allergen booklet that contained instructions for staff to follow and detailed all the allergens present in every menu item. This was only in Dutch but my servers very happily helped me use it. I played around with Google Translate to read the gluten free bagel preparation guide myself. It looks robust.
Some dishes require modification. For example a salad that normally included toasted pine nuts would either exclude the pine nuts or include them untoasted. This in order to avoid exposing them to risk from being in the same oven used to toast regular bagels. The Gluten Free bagels are also toasted in the same oven used for regular bagels but they are inside a sealed bag that eliminates contamination risk. Excellent!
Other than the clear availability of gluten free bagels Bagels & Beans do not provide any information online about how much of their menu is available gluten free or vegan. This is a real shame as it hugely undersells their will and skill. There are many options including vegetarian and vegan and even a truly fantastic dessert. Most of the salad, bagel & yogurt dishes are available gluten free. Soy yogurt is available for dairy free yogurt bowls with a terrific range of toppings. Most dishes can be ordered for eat in or take out.
Bagels and Beans gluten free dishes
In the course of two visits I sampled four gluten free dishes. Each of these was terrifically tasty and good value. I was amazed that what seemed like a mainstream fast-casual had such a fascinating menu. Mushroom Coffee. Aniseed Milk. Vegan “Cream Cheese” made from Walnuts, Bell Pepper & Honey. Almond Latte with Ginger, Turmeric, Cinnamon, Cardamom & Maple Syrup. Saving my favourite foodie find to last, a Bagel served with Mealworms, Cricket and Grasshopper. Yes, Bagels and Beans and Bugs!
The more conventional first. I sampled a Gluten Free Bagel with an ‘Awesome Prana’ dish of hummus, avocado, bean sprouts, dukkah (Egyptian herbs) & lettuce. The Gluten Free bagel itself was okay. Not special. It is nice to have it available. The Awesome Prana dish however was bright, fresh and utterly delicious. I would quite happily skip the bagel and just eat the Awesome Prana.
Picking up on the ‘skip the bagel’ idea I sampled a Goat Cheese salad with mixed lettuce, sun-dried tomatoes, walnuts, cucumber, honey & thyme. I very happily devoured a rainbow on a plate salad with mixed crunchy & creamy textures & wonderful fresh flavours.
Now for dessert. After careful deliberation I announce that the Bagels and Beans Pecan Pie is the best gluten free dessert I have ever sampled from a chain restaurant! Firm base. Moist, dense and chewy filling. Pecan pieces sprinkled into that filling. Gently sweetened with dates & maple syrup. Incredibly this pecan pie is gluten free, dairy free and vegan. Simply amazing.
Bagels and Beans and Bugs!
I have sampled the cricket flour based Crobar and Eat Grub bars but this was my first time eating intact bugs. Mealworms, cricket and grasshopper. I have been keen to try these for several years since missing out on a “Hot Buzz” 3 course insect-based meal pop-up restaurant in London that has . I intensely focused on the flavour and texture but still struggle to describe them. Crispy & crunchy is the easy part. Describing the flavour is more difficult. I’m going for a combination of earthy, woody and mushroom notes.
Want to try eating bugs but nowhere near a Bagel and Beans? There is a fascinating Bugsfeed website which lists restaurants serving bugs all around the world.
Bagels and Beans Recommendation
With plenty of gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, healthy and adventurous diners, Bagels and Beans is a terrific place to visit. The approach to allergen safety appears robust. The dishes I sampled were delicious. Prices are mid-range for a fast casual and service was friendly and fast.
I usually incline towards interesting independent cafes and restaurants rather than the sameness of chains. Bagels and Beans is one of few chains I would happily return to over and over. Particularly whilst travelling and visiting new places the certainty and familiarity that a chain like this can offer is enormously welcome. Bagels and Beans have intentions for international expansion. Yes please, come to London! Bring bugs!
One regret I have is that the opening times for Bagels & Beans stores make it difficult to get to one unless you are proximate within normal office hours. I would happily visit for breakfast or an evening meal if they opened earlier or later.
Bagels and Beans will be featured in a Gluten Free Guide to the Hague I am preparing. Please subscribe or follow me via Facebook or Twitter to ensure you see it. Until then hit the tag The Hague Gluten Free for more reviews.
Google, take us to Bagels & Beans
This is just one of several Bagels & Beans in The Hague and one of many in The Netherlands. My incoming Gluten Free Guide to the Hague will include a map with all the Hague locations. Until then, go here to find all the Bagels & Beans venues.