Recently re-opened under new management, The Eagle is a Ladbroke Grove boozer that has been spruced up without having entirely lost its unpretentious, down to earth feel.
With a prime corner spot on busy Ladbroke Grove road, The Eagle is a medium-sized ground floor venue that largely remains as sparse and functional as its previous incarnation. With a no-frills colour scheme and plain wooden tables - perhaps a little too wide for comfort - lining the walls.
Look closer, however, and you will notice a number of quirky touches, such as the stately oil paintings denoting the ladies and gents toilets, the elegant black railings that prop up the heavy-set wooden bar, and perhaps most notably, an Olympic-sized canoe suspended from the ceiling. Customers may also be surprised to discover the addition of a slightly incongruous open kitchen directly behind the bar. A patio out front is equipped with heaters and a waterproof awning for maximum year-round comfort.
The venue’s overhaul has attracted a younger crowd alongside the faithful pre-existing clientele, and the place can get a bit raucous as the night goes on. Music is loud, consisting of a mixture of pop chart hits and indie rock. Bar staff are helpful and good-natured, and despite the slightly rough and ready edge to the place, The Eagle ultimately proves to have a warm and welcoming environment.
The food consists of a range of well-executed pub staples served in very generous portions. Among the starters, a heaving pile of tempura vegetables with sweet chilli sauce (£4.50) is correctly served lightly crispy on the outside, and juicy and flavoursome within, and an equally plentiful serving of white bait (£6) is commendably fresh-tasting.
Mains include a half or whole ‘rotisserie chook’ (or chicken to the non-antipodeans) served with one side (£9.50) or two sides (£14) - go for the chunky sweet potato fries (£3.50) for a hearty meal that is indulgent but never tastes too laden with grease. There is also a ‘fish & chip shop’ section to the menu, offering a choice of cod, haddock, lemon sole and plaice (£8.50-£12), served with more XXL chips and either mushy peas, salad or autumn veg on the side.
Ale fans are well catered for with at least five options on pump at any given time – the range of suppliers includes Well’s, Truman’s and Timothy Taylor. The pub has also expanded its repertoire of bottled beverages to include the somewhat more upmarket Leffe beer and Rekordelig cider.
Those wary of the atypical non-gastro pub wine list will be pleased to learn that this one is both large and well-chosen – a fruit-laden Carmen Reserva Pinot Noir (£23.50 a bottle) proving particularly quaffable. A small range of cocktails are also available for £6 a glass and £25 for a pitcher.
The Last Word
This arguably proves to be a successful revamp of a well-established venue – one that offers a wider range of food and drink without making the mistake of being overly smug about it. All in all, The Eagle is well worth adding to your list of hangouts in the Ladbroke Grove area.