REVIEW: The Eagle – a neighbourhood gem off Portobello Road

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We Londoners have long treasured the great British tradition of the local pub: in this vast sprawling metropolis, it is the hive that we ever-busy bees swarm to for after-work drinks and Sunday lunches, a place we can quite happily walk into alone and immediately be amongst friends, somewhere to catch up on the local gossip and vent about our day and a home from home that we can treat as an extension of our own (all too often cramped) living spaces and just sit by the fire with book or a crossword.

With London pubs closing at an alarming rate however – we lose an estimated 9 boozers per week – it has become more important than ever to keep this treasured tradition alive: no wonder the hashtag SupportYourLocal is so prevalent.

The Eagle on Ladbroke Grove has been a much-loved local to the Notting Hill/ North Kensington sets for decades, but a lack of care and attention to the old girl had meant that she had been starting to feel a little tired and unloved in recent years. Fortunately, a new owner in the form of pub group Hippo Inns has breathed new life into the place, giving it a sympathetic and stylish makeover, a drinks upgrade and, of course, a brand new menu.

We went there early on a Thursday evening and it was already busy, with a mix of young professionals, media types and a few older locals. The menu, which describes itself as “the best of British with a Bavarian twist”, has a decent selection of tempting sounding dishes, if a little light on vegetarian/ vegan options. We decided on the pickled herring, dill potatoes and sour cream and the smoked trout, fennel and quail egg to start. Both dishes were well-balanced and flavourful with decent sized portions though the overall winner was definitely the trout, delicately smoked with perfectly cooked eggs and crunchy fennel.

For the main, we opted for Brixham Plaice which is served whole, the lightness of the fish perfectly complimented by the strong taste of capers in smoked butter and dozens of juicy little crayfish. My guests went for the (already legendary for its enormity) crispy knuckle of pork with potato dumplings. They have had a special oven installed in order to get optimum crispiness on the pork and he declared it to be an absolute triumph. The portions are not for the faint-hearted and so all we could manage was a brief glance at the dessert menu: plenty of staples here for the sweet of tooth including bitter chocolate fondant, rhubarb posset and banoffee pancakes.

With a Sunday roast that is already garnering a strong reputation, quiz and live music nights and stunning private dining rooms upstairs with a ‘boutique hotel’ feel, there is something for everyone at this little neighbourhood gem.

We’ll see you in there.

The Eagle
250 Ladbroke Grove
W10 5LP
www.theeagle.co.uk

Written by Saga Lynd

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