This week was an impromptu one, given more followers after our coming out on the side of the Twitterati (@QuestForARoast), and the idea was to just wander around the Clerkenwell,/Farringdon area until we could find somewhere new.
The Quest team today comprised of the founding fathers Darren, Francoise and earnest Oscar. A smash and grab set-up, if ever there was one, of experienced questers who know what they like and how they like it.
Passing The Crown, and the ever-popular Green, the underlit City Arms and closed Betsey Trotwood we headed into The Eagle, a bar of rumoured conflicting levels of hospitality and service according to Google searches. No website though, although given the level of effort the staff exhibited the whole time, this fact is now no longer surprising.
The menu was written up on chalk boards above the open and very small kitchen. One stove, only four burners. Most of the menu was served cold and was prepared and sitting on the bar. While this did allow for fast turnaround in plates it did upset everyone (Darren) wanting hot accompaniments to his meat.
There were half a dozen large and small plate options, sardines (whole and nothing done to them) on toast, steak sandwich (their signature dish, although often reviewed as being stringy), pork belly with lentil salad, veal stew with polenta, veggie lasagne, rump steak with roasted tomatoes. No dessert menu other than gorgonzola and grapes, and pastal de nata (custard tarts).
The detail of our choices being – veal stew with thyme, white wine, anchovy, tomato and polenta, red poll rump steak with jersey royals, tomatoes and horseradish, roast pork belly with fennel, parsley, garlic and lentil salad, tomatoes, mint and spring onion.
Food ordered – Left to right (Veal Stew – Franc, Pork belly – Darren, Steak – Oscar)
We did have cheese but no picture was taken. The gorgonzola was great, came with toasted rustic bread with olive oil. No grapes though, so figs were offered as an alternative.
Thought and observations – Collective and Individual
- Service is terrible. Like the slow motion version of time lapse, or that episode of the original Star Trek where Kirk was poisoned by an alien race and was sped up so much it looked like the the rest of the crew were frozen. After watching our sailor shirted waiter not move for five minutes while we waited at the bar (no table service, only bar service) he called over his colleague, the human equivalent of a two-toed sloth. The creature couldn’t move slower if it was swimming through treacle.
- The menu was interesting and seemingly fresh, as it was out on the counter, including the polenta. Although the veggie lasagne looked over-baked and if it had been there since the day before.
- The staff seemed to be just hanging out. When we arrived at 12:45 there were 30 people waiting for food and a couple with melon peel on a plate clearly hoping for their main course to materialise.
- Ordering at the bar confused people. People were sitting dumbfounded and the staff (surprise-surprise) didn’t think it was in their remit to tell people of this protocol.
- For small groups and couples they cram you on a table, so if you are socially inept or shy, avoid like the plague.
- I saw this and it gave me horrific flashbacks to the Sun in Splendour
Yes, a tiny low coffee table with eight seats around it. Someone is in line for a backache.
- Steak was pretty rare as requested. (Oscar)
- Steak came out, and there was a five minute wait before it was joined by the pork.
- Shockingly there was no mustard. No mustard? But there is a corner store opposite, a Waitrose and a Tesco three blocks away. How can that be an excuse? Oscar offered to go to a store for them and get some.
- Potatoes were served cold, as was everything with the pork belly, which is how a small kitchen can turn over so many plates.
- All very tasty, all said and done, fresh and flavourful.
- Oscar gave Darren the potatoes, after Darren gave Oscar the crackling.
- Had a bad spud. It was black on the inside. Once spat into a napkin the meal was over and I turned to the booze course. (Darren)
- No dessert menu WTF? (Darren)
- This stew was, like, fantastic. (Franc turning momentarily Californian) *She then dabbed the remnants of the stew up with the bread.
- I could eat that again. It was arguably my favourite pub meal. (Lofty praise indeed from Franc)
- A stew in summer was an unlikely choice, in winter it would have had potatoes, which would have been too much. The polenta worked. (Franc droning on)
- I want to eat the plate itself. (Franc)
- Steak slightly stringy but came the way I wanted. (Oscar)
- Would have liked hot potatoes but food arrived quickly so that is the trade off. (Oscar)
- I wish I had the stew but HATE polenta. (Darren)
- Ordering from the bar sucks but it not the end of the world. (Franc)
- Space is okay. (Franc) And then we pondered about what the space was originally, given the high ceilings and hole in the ceiling.
- The service was so bad from sailor boy, sloth and a girl, who couldn’t been seen to be doing anything for much of our time there, and was dressed like a Roman slave girl, that Oscar cleared our table.
- I like the open kitchen. (Franc)
- Wish I had mustard now. If we’d known we could’ve bought some on the way. (Oscar tweaking the nipple of that particular Zeitgeist)
- With roast meat I want roast veg. (Darren)
- I want the f’@#king stew again. (Franc)
- Stew pressed all my buttons, on par with the famous lamb carbonara we had on the golden strip in Venice. (Franc really waxing rhapsodic about her damned meal)
- Furniture old and falling apart. Didn’t take plates away for 15 minutes. (Oscar)
- Staff never checked on us, or asked if the food was okay, or bring us water, or clean. (Darren)
- I would say they need a bar manager. I have been here midweek writing and the place seemed more like a hangout for staff and friends of the owner. (Darren)
- The reviews from others point toward non existent service, rude management and it all would probably have seemed better in a different atmosphere. We agree.
- Bottom line. Did we go to The Eagle for food? Yes. Was the food good? Yes. (Darren and Oscar) Hell’s yes! (Franc)
- Paying at the bar does do two things. 1. It eliminates any conflict over the bill. (Not that there is ever any conflict unless Oscar is ordering bottles of booze) and 2. it means that, with the diabolical service, you do not have to wait 45 minutes for the bill when you have finished. (Darren)
- I am stuffed to the gills. (Franc)
- Oscar, what score for the service? (Darren)
- What service? (Oscar)
- Food, the cheese on the toast with the olive oil. That’s me. (Oscar)
- Ladies Toilets had a handle coming out of the wall. It was like using the loos in a Little Chef. (Franc)
- Tarts are as good as any I had in Portugal. (Oscar) Although clearly they were bought in.
- Mens Toilets on par with a stinky train platform loo.
- I want to like this place but I can’t. (Oscar)
- I would only come back here if I lived upstairs. (Oscar)
- I would have had coffee but it was sitting, stewing on the stove in metal pots and not fresh. (Oscar) Prompting a walk to Exmouth Market and Cafe Kick for coffee and more Pastal de nata.
- Single rainbow. The stew was awesome. If I could move that food to another place it would be Double rainbow all the way. (Franc referring to a viral YouTube video). Dyson Airblade in the loos would have made it a triple rainbow lunch.