Beagle // Hoxton // London

When you think of a bistro, you think of a simple place, with simple food that’s served with love…..and that’s exactly what Beagle is all about. Even though Beagle might look like just another trendy East End hang-out, it has taken the philosophy of the bistro and created its own modern British version.

You can tell from the cooking that Chef James Ferguson has worked and learned from some top talents; amongst them Angela Harnett. Ferguson has followed in their footsteps by using top quality products to create his dishes, with his own genuine style.

Beagle delivers perfection and simplicity in its food. No fuss, no foam, no overly complicated techniques, no deconstructed elements where a poor animal is shredded into seven pieces and served on a brick (if you see what we mean).

Beagle’s terrine of rabbit (certainly the best we have seen in London) is amazing in its quality. There are hulking great chucks of leg meat and rich slithers of liver, giving it an authentic flavour. The tarty, crunchy piccalilli is simple, but fresh and of course homemade; superb.

The onglet steak is amazing quality too, certainly coming from a select farmer or a savvy butcher. The cooking is spot-on and the horseradish cream is really punchy. Similarly, the pork belly is a delight and will make you forgot all the Sunday roasts that you’ve had before it; Beagle will be your new benchmark. The meat (and crackling) is simply exceptional.

Desserts impress too. The homemade (and very seasonal) cherry sorbet is lovely. Served in a martini glass, floating in a sea of prosecco, the sorbet is so rich in fruit flavour that your mouth will be shocked.  If this was served with a top Champagne, you could imagine it being on the menu at Paul Bocuse in Lyon, which is pretty good.

While not pretending to be anything too gastronomic, Beagle has succeeded in creating a bistro in the true tradition, but within an edgy East End environment. It’s commitment to quality products and cooking is evident for which Ferguson deserves a very large pat on the back. Wouldn’t it be great if more London chefs would cook with this level of integrity? Hopefully Beagle will push others to move in this wonderful direction.

Square Meal

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