The Beagle, Hoxton

A mere matter of metres from the shiny Hoxton overground station (that strange Orange squiggle on the TFL maps), you’ll find the Beagle standing proudly. Housed in a couple of grand railway arches, they have been buffed and polished until they gleam. Certainly the smartest arch conversion I’ve seen, the brickwork in particular is immaculate. In the right hand arch, a drinking area with a long bar stocking reasonable cocktails (mine was somewhat tart) and a very good selection of bottled and draught London beers. I’ve been in for drinks a few times to soak up the convivial atmosphere.

Octopus

Tonight I was more concerned with the left-hand arch though, the restaurant area. The menu was tantalising, particularly having failed to secure a last minute table in the past. The restaurant area is smartly turned out, but not stuffy and very inviting for a long boozy dinner. I can never resist octopus so that was my starter choice, it was served with pesto and a tomato salad. The octopus was well cooked, very tender as you would hope. Tomatoes were soft and juicy, and plenty of herbs in the pesto. My only quibble was there was a touch too much acidity, some vinegar in the dressing I think. But otherwise a good start. I opted for a glass of a Rousanne which paired well.

Sweetbreads, bacon and peas

Another menu favourite of mine, sweetbreads. And even better, served as a main course with peas, bacon and shoots. Nothing not to like about this, with crisp and moist sweetbreads, salty bacon and rich jus. The peas and shoots cut through adding freshness. A perfect Spring / Summer meaty dish.

Some of the remaining steak!Glassy fluffy chips

My dining compatriots saved themselves for one of the sharing rib-eye cuts, served with chips, watercress and a horseradish sauce. What came was a glorious piece of meat, sliced on a board. Cooked perfectly medium-rare as requested and well seasoned and rested, we could have been in any of London’s best steak restaurants (i.e. Goodman’s). The meat had the unmistakeable grass-fed funk of quality meat, simple but top notch. And the chips deserve special mention, glass-like exterior and a fluffy interior. To go with that we ordered the acclaimed Lebanese Chateau Musar, for £32 it really is amazing value and once opened up it got better and better.

Lemon pudding and biscuit Panna cotta with rhubarbWe couldn’t resist dessert after enjoying all that so much. The other 2 both ordered a lemon dessert (posset perhaps) served with a shortbread biscuit. Sharp, lemony and creamy, all good. Somehow the very chatty waitress thought it was my birthday (it wasn’t!) and despite protestations, I got a lovely candle and rendition of Happy Birthday from half the restaurant. Quite surreal but hilarious still. It was planted in my rhubarb alongside a well made panna cotta. Plenty of vanilla and a smooth wobbly texture. I had to try the rhubarb eau de vie alongside it of course, very much along the lines of grappa (aka rocket fuel).

All in, about £55 a head including a pre-dinner drink each. Good value. The menu is enticing with nothing too glamorous / outrageous but lots of comforting tasty dishes, and the execution was rock solid. I’ll definitely be back.

 

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