Wed | Dec 7, 2016

The Beagle Experience

Published:Thursday | October 30, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Smoked mackerel, pink fir potatoes, watercress and soft-boiled eggs. photos by Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer
Beetroot chicory and perroche.
Pear and almond tart with fraîche.
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Located under three old railway arches in Shoreditch, London, the Beagle restaurant is listed among the best places to dine in that city. The building itself was a former repair place for trains and named for the first that ever ran through it.

The property houses a restaurant, bar and coffee shop in the rustic yet beautiful brick arches. It was there that participants in the Arthur Guinness Projects/Ashoka Changemakers Makers of More summit were hosted at a welcome dinner on October 16.

The ambience was warm and welcoming compared to the rainy, cold and seemingly unending walk from the hotel to get there. But the friendly and courteous staff and great company made it all worthwhile.

From our table we had a good vantage point of the chefs at work in the open kitchen, but with interesting conversation around the table, not much observation was done. The Beagle prides itself on serving seasonal, affordable British food and drinks and was conceptualised by brothers Danny and Kieran Clancy. The restaurant also has a bar and coffee shop.

From its website we gleaned that Beagle's restaurant is headed by former Rochelle canteen head chef, James Ferguson, who focuses on a traditional British menu using seasonal British produce, and most of the cooking is done on a traditional wood grill. The restaurant's adjoining bar serves great cocktails alongside British beers and wines available by the carafe or bottle. There is also an outdoor seating area for up to 60 persons that will cater for both the bar and restaurant overflow.

The party dined on three courses with a delectable appetiser comprising beetroot, chicory and perroche, smoked mackerel, pink fir potatoes, watercress and soft-boiled eggs. This was absolutely amazing, especially the smoked mackerel, and were it necessary, we would have been happy with that alone. But after such a fantastic start, we were anxious to see what would follow.

The entrée of spit roast Sutton Hoo chicken was succulent and seems to be a Beagle speciality. It was teamed with smoked aioli, braised white beans and leeks and grilled gem lettuce, spring onions and mint. The latter had a seductive effect on the palate as its aroma constantly drifted upwards to caress the nostrils and made you anticipate each mouthful. These choices were paired with diners' choices of red and white wines ... and, of course, an ice-cold Guinness for those who preferred.

English desserts are to die for. The pear and almond tart and cream fraîche did not disappoint. The former had a crispy, crumbly crust and was not too sweet at all.