Hoxton tube station is Shoreditch’s Bermuda triangle if London cabbies are to be believed. And I’ve no reason not to trust them. Google may offer a simpler and more direct route than theirs but where’s the fun in that? Eventually we arrived at Geffrye Street under the railway arches and assured the cabbie this wasn’t a mirage but a brand new restaurant. Enter stage Beagle.
Under the railway arches traditionally sounds like place for a children’s story, a mafia hangout, a 1993 / 2009 rave, but not perhaps a restaurant. Sure enough approaching Beagle you realise this place is very secluded giving it intimacy and shelter from marauding London.
The building is two large arches, sexy lighting and brilliant acoustics (seriously). It’s not often I notice the dimensions of a restaurant’s roof, but this one is perfect. Feng Shui nirvana. The height of the ceilings are as perfect as you can get for a restaurant (I looked it up).
We had a drink at the bar before sitting down and were impressed. Craft beer lovers in particlar will be pleased. Cocktails I’m told were very special and punchy.
So to the food.
My pigeon and prune terrine was gelatinous fun like all the best things in life. Sweet prunes with gamey bird is a classic. It was our first time with skate knobs and they was good. Deep fried cheeks of fish partner apertifs very well.
My braised rabbit, butter beans and mustard was wholesome and utterly delicious, perhaps the winning dish (picture below). Like something you would have at your granny’s. If your granny was a fucking good cook. Which I’m sure she is.
Full marks to James Ferguson (prev Head Chef of Rochelle Canteen) for championing British ingredients and dishes (with an occasional nod to Italy). Rhubarb, watercress, Jersey royals and steamed sponge all feature on the seasonal menu. I noticed lamb with anchovies (and before Waitrose’s Heston advert).
The overall focus here is simplicity. Some very fine cooking yes, but its the ingredients that are allowed to shine. Nothing is too complicated, there is no ego here. In this respect it reminds me of Brawn.
The Clancy brothers have worked their Midas touch once again and brought to town not only a very good restaurant but more importantly, an original one. This isn’t trend led, American inspired, gimic-laden or derivative. There is no kitchen roll served on the side with your food.
I think this place will grow into itself more and more. It’s also a coffee bar and has a huge outdoor area so it will really come into its own in the summer. Its idiosyncrasies, like the distant rumble of the train going over ahead, add character. Beagle is a hugely welcome addition to East London.
Take the overground.. Or taxi if you dare.
Bar, Coffee Shop, Restaurant