Monday, 10 June 2013

The Beagle - Hoxton, London

The Beagle
In an earlier posting I said that I was really excited about coming home to London, as there was a restaurant called The Beagle, that I was eagerly wanting to visit. A friend pointed it out to me and I liked the look of the menu with dishes like pigs head croquets, octopus stew and odd drinks like bloody mary with chorizo infused vodka and pine made gin, it's hard not to get excited.

On Sunday 2nd June, I managed to drag myself along to the restaurant, I say drag because unfortunately I had over done it on the plane back to London and had one to many – ooops.....will I ever learn. But I was still very keen, as I like to eat my way through a hangover.

The restaurant is under the railway arch at Hoxton and couldn't believe how “trendy” it had become. I remember when Hoxton was seen as a rough area, but it's great to see how things change, just wished I'd bought a property there before it moved upmarket. Even though the restaurant is under the railway arches, the trains did not distract from our lunch or conversation, even though we were sitting outdoors. It's odd to think that the UK is now becoming perfect for sitting outdoors, but in Dubai we are moving indoors because it's far too hot and humid.

Pigeon and Prune Terrine
My two friends and I eagerly studied the menu and struggled as all sounded really delicious. After much prevaricating I ordered something unusual for me and decided on the roast chicken. I eat so much chicken when cooking at home that I like to try something different when I go out, also nobody cooks chicken better than me (how that's for ego :-) ) I've not had a roast chicken since being away so how could I resist one of my favourites. Although it was only the chicken that was roasted and didn't come with all the usual trimmings, it was still roast chicken, but I am jumping ahead of myself
Octopus with New Potatoes
For my starter I went for pigeon terrine with prunes, which came with a light pickled red cabbage and toast. The terrine was very tasty, with big pieces of pigeon and ham hock and the cabbage was tangy and light. My only issue was the look of the dish, the prune looked like a septic sore in the middle terrine and actually decided to give the prune a miss. My friends order the octopus with new potato. They both said it was okay, nothing special and actually found a few pieces of octopus over cooked and very chewy. They also both agreed far too much oil.

Roast Chicken with Pazanella
After a long wait, which I asked my friends if I was being impatient and was pleased when they said no and that we had been waiting a long time for our mains. When it did finally turn up, the chicken was moist and the skin well seasoned and crispy. I got the better cuts, thigh and breast but my friend only got a drumstick and a small thigh and at £15.50 felt a bit hard done by. The chicken came with a brightly coloured pazanella that was nice and light, but too much vinegar for my liking. Our other friend order the grilled seabass with roasted fennel – and like the chicken, had moist flesh with well seasoned crispy skin, but like the octopus was let down by the vast amounts of oil.

Seabass with Roasted Fennel
The service was polite and slow with one of them seeming as if she didn't want to be there (maybe she had a hangover like me). Considering it wasn't busy and there were a fair amount of staff I still had to ask were the wine was (a good cure for a hangover – hair of the dog), and we thought it was a cheek that they added a 12.5% service charge which wasn't optional.

Overall, I was extremely disappointed. I had been really keen to visit the restaurant and it didn't live up to all that I was expecting, The Giaconda Dining Room it isn't. I'm not even sure I would say try it out, because it's not worth the price tag, never did find out what the discount was for, see below
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