Two years in the making, Beagle is comprised of a bar, restaurant and coffee shop within 3 carefully renovated railway arches on Geffrye Street, Shoreditch – next to Hoxton Station.
(Krank)Brothers Danny and Kieran Clancy are behind the project; alongside one of London’s most exciting young chefs, James Ferguson (former Head Chef at Rochelle Canteen), who delivers seasonal, produce-led British cooking, with menus changing on a daily basis – much in the style of his former stomping ground.
If a recent visit during their soft opening period – the restaurant officially launches on 8th April – is anything to go by, Beagle will comfortably eclipse just about every other restaurant in the area by some distance.
Just as with the daily menu at Rochelle Canteen, the food here is described simply, without fuss or embellishment: the ingredients take centre stage, and never exceed more than three per dish on the page. For anyone familiar with Rochelle Canteen’s consistently brilliant cooking, this is a direction which truly pays dividends on the plate. Perfection is achieved not by adding, but by stripping as much away as possible. Starters of salt ling, butter beans and tomato, or courgette, wild garlic and mint soup, are so underplayed on the page that the real wow moment comes from eating them – just as it should be.
The five starters we sampled were all uniformly excellent, with each providing simple, punchy knockout flavour combinations which had us all hailing our respective dishes as the standout, but nothing could prepare us for the sheer magnificence of the main course: two enormous portions of beef forerib, duck fat chips and horseradish (with a fourth, unmentioned but welcome ingredient of watercress salad) shared between the six of us. Words really can’t do it justice, but in an area of London featuring both Tramshed and the unimpeachable Hawksmoor as dedicated purveyors of quality steak, there was a strong consensus from our party that this may just be the best bit of beef we’d ever eaten.
A pudding of blood orange sorbet and prosecco – another simple yet effective dish – finished off a near-perfect meal, with us deducting just half a mark for not having ketchup available for the sensational duck fat chips.
In the adjoining bar, Beagle serves killer cocktails along with British beers and wines by the carafe or bottle, and a nifty little snacks menu which included a delicious bit of pulled brisket served with pickles and toast on our visit. Beagle will also boast a large south facing outdoor seating area for up to 60 covers, which, should decent weather ever decide to show its face in London again, will make it a packed out summer destination for hipsters and foodies alike.
As a longtime fan of Rochelle Canteen, and living as I do literally just around the corner from Beagle, I admit that I had unrealistically high expectations for this place, but I’m delighted to say that Ferguson and his excellent team exceeded them here. That I will return to Beagle again is inevitable. The bigger question for my wallet and my waistline is, more likely: how long can I stay away?
Beagle, 397-400 Geffrye Street, Hoxton, E2 8HZ
0207 613 2967