I have to admit I am ambiguous about gastro-pubs – not that I am in any way opposed to the ‘recent’ phenomenon of gastro-pubs, but it’s just that I’d hate to see the wonderful tradition of pub meals disappear, those pub meals consisting of dishes such as steak-and-kidney pie; pork pies, cottage pie and so on.
In short, the ‘pint and pie tradition’ in your local where you’d be on first name terms with the barman. Next to you sits a bloke you’ve known forever. And your conversation is almost always the same: “Cold today,” you say. To which he responds, “Not as cold as yesterday. Yesterday was colder.” Silence, and this, you think to yourself, is a blessing and the conversation dies down and by this time your favourite ale has been put before you. Who cares whether it was colder yesterday than today, anyway. Cheers!
The Eagle, it is said, ushered in a new era for pubs known as gastropubs. It’s as though pubs were no longer satisfied with just being pubs, serving down to earth pub lunches - not with all the clamour and hype about food in the media, and especially on TV. No, they wanted to go to the ball as well and so they upgraded, or rather, The Eagle upgraded to become a gastropub, and in so doing inspired a host of others, and spawned an agony of copycats. Square Meal rated it as one of the top 14 gastropubs in London.
I believe journalists from the Guardian used to frequent the place until they moved. Not that it’s any easier to get at a table there so, I think, the idea is to get there early and hope for the best. Being so popular is at least an indication of the quality of the food. It is Mediterranean-style peasant food with no pretences and it’s consistent, as the regulars will tell you. A meal will cost you about £30.00 and £12. The address is 159 Farringdon Road, LondonEC1R 3AL
Tel: 020 7837 1353.
And it’s a great place to talk about the weather and it still feels like a pub.