This week and a bit has really flown by – I’ve only just gotten round to writing up this post about my dinner date night at trendy Hoxton hotspot Beagle! Settle in and read on…
Located in the railway arches next to Hoxton station, Beagle was one of the restaurants on my list – remember the list? It’s still going strong! So far I’ve ticked off Patty & The Bun, The Smokehouse, Bodega Negra, The Pitt Cue, The Riding House Cafe, Meat Mission and STK, however as soon as I tick one off there seem to be another 10 restaurants I want to add on, the London restaurant scene really needs to slow down a little!! – but I digress.
Yes, Beagle has been on my list for a while and then my boyfriend also mentioned it to me a couple of months ago (don’t you hate it when they do that? You tell them about something and then months later they re-tell YOU about it because they heard about it from someone else and actually listened to said someone! And you’re all like, I knoooooow I told YOU about this place/restaurant/thing months ago!!) anyway – With a free Friday night and no plans we decided to book in for dinner.
I loved the feel of Beagle as soon as I arrived. It’s got a perfect outside bit that is ideal for evening drinks – well, and day drinks too. When we were there just over a week ago, it was fairly warm evening so this area was buzzing, particularly with groups of cool and trendy, 20-30 some-things – we were in East London after all! We headed inside to the beautifully renovated yet industrial looking bar before ducking under another arch into the restaurant. This place is cool, like really cool. The metal and wood furniture mix perfectly with, of course, exposed brick work, arched ceilings, more metal fixtures and big white, spherical lights. It’s a great space to be in. Not that I was expecting anything less, after all, Beagle is the brainchild of Krankbrother duo Danny & Kieran Clancy. I mean when you already run one of the most successful underground club nights in London any other venture you turn your hand to is surely going to be up there on the ‘hot right now list’ especially with the Trendies of London, and Beagle certainly is.
We were having dinner at 8.30pm and the restaurant was half full. I spied a table for two near the kitchen arch where you can see the chefs preparing your dinner and was delighted when the hip-looking waitress lead us straight to it. We parked our bums and were enveloped by saliva inducing smells. I can’t seem to find the right words to describe the scents emanating from that little archway on the restaurant’s far side but will settle for deliciously dreamy. When I first looked into Beagle as a place to go, I read a few reviews on good ole TripAdvisor and one reviewer had mentioned the waft from the kitchen, she said it kept distracting her from her dinner chat – which I thought to be a bit of an exaggeration – it’s not. Whatever they’re cooking up in there smells incredible and can easily lure you away from your company’s conversation.
All this seemed to point to a fantastic choice in restaurant so we excitedly began ordering – well my boyfriend did – I instead took pictures of him looking unimpressed…
and then doing his best ‘fake’ happy face
And then I let him get back to drinking his pint…
before he turned the camera on me (doh)
and then forced me into smiling with my teeth on show – for anyone who know’s me, this does not happen. ever. I haven’t got the most ‘hollywood’ of smiles and think I have fangs so tend to keep those pearlies hidden away!
Posing for photos isn’t as easy as it sounds. I think I might need a bit more practise before Models 1 come-a-knocking.
But back to dinner –
To start we had: Asparagus with hollandaise sauce and a soft boiled egg for me and grilled octopus accompanied by tomato & coriander for him. This was followed by Onglet (a cut of steak) for me and Lamb sweetbreads for him. Pretty adventurous ordering for my man! I was intrigued to see how it all went down.
My starter was really lovely – the only criticism was that my egg was cold. I’m not sure whether this was meant to be like this (I’m waaaay to English to bother the waitress by asking) but it meant that the taste was really overwhelmed by the warm hollandaise sauce. Said hollandaise sauce was amazing enough though especially combined with the asparagus.
My man’s octopus? Well even I gave it a try! I know, I know…I ate something from the sea and didn’t hate it. It was tasty – I’m not sure I could have eaten a whole plateful of it but coupled with a bit of tomato (my most favourite food in the world other than cheese) it was not as scary tasting as I’d been expecting.
Next up the mains. I have to say I was a little disappointed with mine. The meat was nice and very well cooked but every mouthful had to be loaded with celeriac to balance the flavour. On it’s own it was very salty and had me hankering for a huge glass of H20.
As for the sweetbreads – well, to be perfectly honest, we didn’t really know what they were when my guy ordered them. Turns out there little bits of meat from the pancreas or thymus which can be found below the neck or near the heart of a lamb. For a meat lover like my man they didn’t really hit the spot as they’re very served small and can be a bit fatty. I think he was looking for a huge hunk of lamb when he ordered his meal and this is definitely not what he got. He did enjoy the food but it’s not something he’d order again.
On the side we had a portion of duck fat chips which were huge in size and incredibly crispy…I actually only managed one!
Despite being slightly underwhelmed by dinner I found myself to be absolutely stuffed by the time we finished. We asked for the bill which, for 2 starters, 2 mains a glass of red and a beer came to just under £70. Not bad but as we weren’t blown away by our food it seemed more expensive then we’d have liked.
The staff however were wonderful, welcoming, funny and laid back – our waitress complimented me on my recently painted, ivy green nails so, naturally I loved her immediately. But all the staff were attentive and friendly. After reading some reviews on TripAdvisor saying the staff were rude and unhelpful I found this to be completely untrue.
My boyfriend and I agreed that Beagle is a lovely place in terms of decor, service and location but that it’s possibly not right for us in terms of food. Perhaps we’re just now cool enough for their on-trend dishes. It’s ever-changing menu can appear quite adventurous to your average
Joe me (if you’re googling half the menu, consider yourself average like me!) however I’m sure for real foodies who know their sweetbreads from their skirt this restaurant would be the perfect choice. I will definitely go back in the future for some alfresco cocktails (I’ve heard theirs are mind-blowing) as the summer rolls round and I may be tempted to try the menu again (as I said it does change all the time, so you never know!) but, sadly, I wouldn’t go out of my way to book dinner here again. Brunch though – well that’s another matter!
Thanks for reading 🙂