Er, sorry waiter: could you read that menu for me?
The Eagle in Clerkenwell is a small, unpretentious gastropub on Farringdon Road, next door from the offices of The Guardian and The Observer. The interieur is decidedly dodgy, with a rather chaotic collection of cheapo chairs and tables and the most worn out sofa north of the Thames. Behind the bar, the (for London) usual ensemble of waiters from the Ukraine, Spain, New Zealand, Poland and Australia look after an impressive array of belgian beers (i.e. Leffe), English real ales, Erdinger and the usual spirits.
So far so good, but what makes this central london boozer so special, is the kitchen behind the bar, where smashing food is being produced. The menu is scribbled on a collection of blackboards above the stove and is notoriously hard to read (it actually gets more convoluted everytime I visit the place), so most of the time you'll have to ask the waiter/waitress to translate for you
The menu changes daily, depending on what fresh produce the cook can get his hands on and the food is always served with fresh bread and olive oil. The style of cooking could broadly be defined as mediterranean, with heavy emphasis on spanish and italian ingredients and a good variety of pasta and vegetarian dishes and the portions are seriously big.
The clientele is a great mix between journalists, young professionals and the usual gaggle of drunken students, low lifes (and almost no) tourists, and at times the odd musician. Apparently Graham Norton used to work as a waiter here, but fortunately has moved on.
Verdict? In my personal opinion possibly the perfect gastropub in London, but this is, as always, a matter of taste. Well worth a visit, though.
159 Farringdon Road
020 7837 1353