My delicious Beagle experience

It was beginning to feel like summer. The nights were lengthening and it seemed high time to pay the incredibly hyped Beagle a visit. Negotiating the Old Street roundabout all the way to Hoxton is no mean feat for a South Londoner, but after a cocktail or two, having stopped off at the newly refurbished Hawksmoor Spitalfields bar, arriving at the railway arches felt like a great achievement. We were greeted by a typically East London scene, with the al fresco seating area surrounded by crumbling brickwork and converted factories. We were really excited by the prospect of being able to dine outside and enjoy the unseasonably warm evening, but it was not to be. No food is served outside. But this did mean that we were able to enjoy the inspiring cocktail menu, although we did have to order from the bar, albeit with charming service. My favourite cocktail was the Admiral Somerville – Navy & Demerara rum, spiced sherbet syrup, lime juice, lemon juice and soda. Hendrick’s gin and tonic aficionados might enjoy exchanging gin for vodka to get their cucumber kick with the Hoxton Fizz – vodka, cucumber, lemon juice, and elderflower. Feeling a bit tipsy, we made our way inside for the main event. The interior was much the same as the outside scene, with exposed brick walls and an arch separating the bar from the dining area and partially exposed kitchen. You could hear trains rumbling overhead, adding to the fashionable urban feel. We shared two starters of a deliciously chunky pigeon terrine and wild smoked trout with dill. In this round of fish versus meat, the texture and flavour of the pigeon definitely triumphed. We both plumped for the onglet for main, served with duck fat chips and spinach. I was a big fan of my medium-rare steak, while my companion didn’t think his was cooked to specification. The food had been enjoyable, but hadn’t wowed, so we skipped dessert in favour of yet another cocktail to enjoy under the stars. The Beagle boys have all the perfect ingredients for a successful bar/restaurant venture – the cool Hoxton setting, an outside area, tasty cocktails and a decent if slightly underwhelming menu that changes daily, so like the growing hoards of hipsters in the area, Beagle should be around for a while to come.

– Sophie Sweetman

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