Making Haggerston a culinary destination beyond its Vietnamese cafés, the arches of Hoxton station provide a venue for superb back-to-basics British cooking.
Beagle is a smart café, bar and restaurant in the railway arches below Hoxton Overground station. Setting it in such a dissonant location – with trains rattling overhead, and only a view of the Geffrye Museum’s back entrance – is clearly an act of faith for its owners, who have pursued this project with hound-like doggedness.
Smart outdoor seating tells you this isn’t just another car spares depot. Plate-glass windows reveal the beautifully restored arches. The left hand entrance is the tiny coffee takeaway counter, the right hand entrance opens into the capacious bar. Sophisticated cocktails served by engaging, smiling staff and concocted by acclaimed barman Myles Davies set the scene. A rhubarb bellini with vanilla hits the spot.
The beers are carefully chosen too, such as the toothsome amber ale called Hopspur, brewed in Tottenham by the Redemption craft brewery.
Pass from the bar arch to the next room and you move into the dining area with its open kitchen. James Ferguson was head chef at the excellent Rochelle Canteen for four years, and the same back-to-basics British ethos is evident at the Beagle. Grilled cuttlefish – scored and served like oriental squid – is served with new potatoes and a salsa-like coriander pesto, and shows that sometimes the simplest ideas are the best.
Pork belly is brined, slow-roasted then seared to give tender meat with crisp crackling; a hugely successful method.
While local produce is currently touted as a virtue on many menus, we were pleased to discover that our pigeon terrine didn’t include any of Hackney’s bedraggled birds – these wood pigeons were from Essex.The terrine was expertly made in-house, well textured and with a slightly gamey flavour.
The solitary vegetarian main course option of aubergine was grilled and smoked on the kitchen’s wood grill, served with a tomato and onion mix and topped with a dash of yogurt-like curd. It was a dish that would be the envy of some of Kingsland Road’s many excellent Turkish grill restaurants.
Beagle is a surprise in this part of London, where so many bars are style over substance. It deserves to go the distance for making Haggerston a culinary destination beyond its famous, budget-priced Vietnamese cafés.
By Guy Dimond
397-400 Geffrye St
|Opening hours:||Open Restaurant 6pm-midnight Mon-Tue; noon-3pm 6pm-midnight Wed-Sat; noon-6pm Sun and Bank Holidays. Bar 4pm-midnight Mon-Fri; noon-midnight Sat-Sun. Café 7am-5.30pm daily.|
|Transport:||Tube: Hoxton rail|
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Average User Rating
4.7 / 5
- 5 star:10
- 4 star:2
- 3 star:1
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:0
A lovely spot for a classy brunch, especially in the summer when you can sit outside - making it dog friendly. Waiters and bar staff aren't chatty, but service is efficient. Being a little tucked away, it's not as busy as some eateries in Shoreditch, and the crowd feels more local. An interesting menu that changes daily, full of rustic classics with a twist. Delicious duck fat chips!
Delicious brunch - the waiter was super friendly & had great recommendations, including house smoked streaky bacon (best ever!) and homemade brown plum sauce. Dog friendly too (outside). I'll definitely be going back!
If you have a baby with you there is no better place to eat in London. Absolutely delicious food, simple, fresh and so tasty, with the best bloody Mary I think I've had! But beyond this the delight with which the staff entertained my one year old every time they passed the table just made the experience. Couldn't have felt more welcome - which is not always the case for good London restaurants when you have a baby, pram and all the paraphernalia in tow. Restaurant (and cafe/bar) very spacious, more than enough room for baby stuff. Can't wait to come back.
Beaut interior, engaging service, original menu but you have to be wise with what you order as some dishes are hit and miss - ask your server for recommendations and you'll be fine. Another hipster restaurant in a railway arch - the #1 venue of choice at the mo, it seems!
Fantastic cocktails - these barmen really know their stuff. No well known brands here, they seek out the unusual and the best plan is to sit at the bar asking for tasters. On a Sunday they do four different types of Bloody Mary and have a folk duo playing all afternoon. My new favourite, and its right next to the Overground.
Killer coffees in the morning, and great drinking and food after work. A perfect stop off if you work and live by Hoxton.
Cocktails, service, setting and food are all excellent. As a veggie I particularly enjoyed the vegetarian option; interesting and considered and not a risotto in sight!
Thoroughly enjoyed my meal at Beagle. The steak was the most delectable and flavoursome I have ever tasted! It was really hard to choose a starter as they all sounded amazing. Really inventive British produce used to create mainly vegetarian starter courses. The cocktails were delicious - mine had black pepper bitters and rosehips - yum. Plus the bar snacks looked really good value - pulled pork and red cabbage for £4. I plan to go back!
In a grim gastric landscape of faddish fast food joints and try-hard cocktail bars, Beagle stands out as being a place that just got it right. Hoxton now has a place that's here to stay. All the key elements are well thought out and firmly in place: I've been three times now and each time I've encountered friendly staff who know their stuff, great food whether dining in the bar or the restaurant (the meatballs are the best I've ever had), and the kind of cocktails list that has something suitable for every mood, and every time of day. The crowd's great and the space is fantastic - it's definitely my new favourite spot, and judging by the enthusiastic crowds, it's everyone else's too.