The Eagle, Farringdon
After running a few errands, we found ourselves in Farringdon recently. Farringdon is a bit of a dining hotspot these days, but on a Sunday, as it was, it tends to be completely dead and a lot of places are closed because of this (ie. The Bleeding Heart). Nearby Foxlow was tempting, but I wasn't starving and didn't think I could do it justice, so I thought about The Eagle. Situated next to the old Guardian offices on Farringdon Road, The Eagle is commonly regarded as the UK's first ever gastropub, and unsurprisingly every time I've been it's always busy, even on a silent Sunday. I used to walk past it daily on my trip from working in Southwark up to Kings Cross and seeing it on Giles Coren's Back In Time For Dinner last week jogged my memory, so was excited to eat there again.
The Eagle has a constantly evolving menu - the chefs write it up on boards above the bar throughout service, chopping and changing as they go. Every time I've been there has been the steak sandwich available though, and having had it in the past I insisted that Rich order it. I just about managed to talk him out of the crab linguine (which would have made it a three linguine weekend) and I think he was pretty glad when it arrived:
Sorry it's out of focus; blame the very good spicy Bloody Mary. Absolutely rammo with steak, phenomenally well cooked and packed full of some sort of not-too-herby chimichurri marinade removing the need for condiments (just as well as they have none, nor a microwave, nor a kettle). It's so good and it's £11. Also, whatever bun that is they're using is what I'm after with a burger - no more brioche buns!
There's a lovely beer selection too - a few Hackney crafty ales, all the big names on tap and a nice few IPAs and lagers. Rich enjoyed a Dogfish New World DNA a lot.
After I'd perused the boards extensively (there was a giant T-bone being given some proper attention and there was pear and gorgonzola toast mmm) I settled on grilled chermoula mackerel with swiss chard in the hope of feeling healthy. Here it is:
A whole fish is such a treat for me and mackerel is one of my all time faves; this did not disappoint. I need to find out more about chermoula because I'm now a huge fan - the fish tasted like I was eating it on a beach BBQ in Turkey. Completely delicious and whatever they did with that chard was fantastic (unfortunately I believe this to be 'smother in butter and season generously with good salt', so not so much with the healthiness). The whole thing was about £10 and went very nicely with a reasonably priced glass of Gavi too. Heaven.
This lunch really cemented my love for The Eagle and I resolved to go there more frequently. Friendly staff, relaxed vibe, great food. What's not to like?