Monday 27 May 2013

Beagle: a place you'll want to stay

Perhaps it was the fact it was a bank holiday weekend, perhaps it was the glorious evening sun streaming through the windows making the food glisten, or maybe, just maybe, Beagle was as good as I remember.  Set in three railway arches - one bar, one restaurant, the other kitchen -Beagle is the new home of James Ferguson, formerly of La Rochelle.  It is a great little bolt hole from the hustle and bustle of Shoreditch and, despite the fact that trains rumble their way towards Liverpool Street only meters above you, surprisingly serene.

The food is very much on trend, but it does not feel trendy. It doesn't feel like its trying too hard. Yes they sell smoked cod's roe (a favourite of the St John's empire). But not in a "what you haven't tried smoked cod's roe, seriously?" kind of a way.  It's far friendlier that that. There is English asparagus with fried egg and a salad of courgettes, tomatoes and feta (I am sure this was more interesting than it sounds), but we opted for the cuttlefish with aioli and the grilled lamb's tongue (a new one on me) with beets. The tongue was soft, the beets sweet. The cuttlefish was perfectly cooked, just enough bite.

The lamb's tongue and beetroot

Cuttlefish and aioli
With the sun beating down, the forerib for two or the mutton with pearl barley would have been too much - I  went instead for the pork belly. Salty crackling, melting meat with sweet onions and rich lentils - this is the kind of food that works well in July and January. The onglet steak (by the frequency with which this cut is now served in London you could almost be led to believe that there is no other!) was cooked rare and seasoned well. The duck fat chips were the only disappointment - not crisp enough for me, although the Fashionista thought they were tops.

With no space left for dessert, we sauntered off.  Yes I went on a sunny summer evening, yes we'd enjoyed a beer in the sun before, but I have this sneaky suspicion that I will be just as comfortable in Beagle come winter - snuggled up in the archway watching the snow whirl outside. This is a restaurant for keeps. This is my kind of place.

Beagle on Urbanspoon

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