Oh lucky, lucky Hoxtonites, you’re in for a right culinary treat this summer! New to E2 is Beagle, a restaurant-bar-coffee-shop, conveniently located next to Hoxton Station, that specialises in British cooking of the kind creative young East Londoners love most. That is, daily changing menus of locally-sourced ingredients, served up beautifully but fairly simply. If you’ve ever eaten at the famous Rochelle Canteen, you’ll be familiar with chef James Ferguson’s style, in which nothing goes to waste and even the bread and butter are the very best they can be.
I was one of the lucky ones to get an early booking last week (as a guest of Beagle) – the restaurant opened earlier this month. The service was great; organised, knowledegable and friendly. Our waitress told us that the menu, which is understandably limited, always has one or two fish or vegetarian options which somehow surprised me as I expected it to be meat-heavy. (On our day, the five mains included violet artichokes, grilled lemon sole and lamb sweetbreads). She was at pains to tell us that ingredients are sourced from sustainable and community-conscious suppliers, which is impressive considering prices for mains hover at the £15 mark and portions aren’t skimpy.
Our table of two carnivores plumped for the onglet steak with duck fat chips (oh my!) and slow roast pork belly with borlotti beans. My pork was faultless, tender all over and crunchy in the right places. I can also vouch for the duck fat chips (can I just say that one more time? Duck. Fat. Chips.) which somehow kept inching their way onto my plate. We didn’t have starters but shared a grilled courgette, feta and rocket salad which sounds a bit blah but was heaven on a plate (this from someone who doesn’t do salads). Cocktails are also apparently a bit special here, courtesy of ex-Hix mixologist Myles Davies. The ambiance was very jovial for a Wednesday evening although there’s a small downside in that the acoustics aren’t great. The setting is under high, exposed-brick railway arches, with big windows along one side, meaning that when the place is packed, you might find yourself shouting to be heard over the sound bouncing around the room.
This place is going to get seriously popular come the summer months. It’s perfect for Hoxton’s young art and design crowd during the working week, and for foodie locals at the weekend. Did I mention the coffee shop? There’s an adjoining coffee shop serving locally-produced coffee and pastries during the day with an outside seating area for nicer weather. I know a lot of Hoxton mums who are going to plonk themselves here on a Sunday arvo and never leave. I might well join them…
What: seasonal produce-led British cooking
Where: 397-400 Geffrye Street, E2 8HZ (behind the Geffrye Museum, next to Hoxton Station)
When: check the website for hours – they vary