|Fine Food, Friendly Service ... and Cornflake Ice Cream!|
Liz Vercoe is happy to have landed at The Eagle in Askew Road
I love trying something new, so The Eagle on Askew Road, one of the Geronimo Inns chain of pub restaurants, came up trumps on two counts. One, I’d never been there before, and two, there was something I’d never tasted on the menu: cornflake ice-cream. But I’ll get back to that spoon- licking discovery later.
The Eagle had invited us to dinner and we coincidentally picked a Wednesday which turned out to be their “steak night”. On Wednesday evenings there’s the regular menu plus steaks and a roast (lamb at £13.50 was on the board).
When we arrived, a Champions League match was in full flow on the big TV screen that’s up on the wall just inside the front door. Walking in, it was a bit like facing the wall taking a free kick, confronted as we were by a hedgerow of men (mostly) all with their eyes fixed on a spot above your head (rather than your feet). But we soon got our bearings and discovered not everyone was caught up in the footie.
Elsewhere in the big bar area there was the happy hubbub of conversation going on in sofas and at tables supporting pints of real ales all around the room.
The Eagle has a distinct dining area thanks to a cleverly fashioned partition wall and it seats about 36 people. Most of the scrubbed pine topped tables were occupied, only one with just drinkers who moved back to the bar as the tables filled up with diners.
Warm toned lamps hung just above head height making the room feel intimate despite what could have seemed a cavernous ceiling space. A giant drum shade in the centre gave the room both a focal point and a smart 70s style. For smokers, or outdoors lovers, needing to head out into the winter’s night there was a big basket of cosy blankets to grab by the door which was a friendly touch.
To drink we picked the house red, a Grenache/Syrah called La Fougère at £15.50 which was perfectly nice, French and full bodied. And to start we picked from the regular menu Anglesey mussels in a white wine and cream sauce (£6.50) and a duck and chicken liver terrine laced with black pudding (6.95). Both were served with great chunks of crusty artisan bread and the terrine a well-dressed salad of baby leaves: beetroot, spinach etc as well as “market chutney”.
The mussels in their shells were lovely plump juicy little fellas in a fresh creamy sauce. I’d have preferred a bit more wine flavour and it to be slightly hotter, but not if that risked overcooking the mussels. The terrine was flavoursome, especially with the appley chutney and salad vinaigrette. It was surprisingly light, too, maybe because we ate only a quarter of the bread. Both dishes (with all the bread!), would make a light lunch in themselves.
The service was impeccable, professional and really friendly; if you are lucky you’ll have Viola serving you, too. The food looks attractive, served on platters of wood or chunks of black slate.
For the main course we went for a ribeye steak with pepper sauce served with fries, tomato and corn on the cob (£15.95), and a plate of slow-cooked pork belly, creamy mash, green beans and crispy sage (£13.95). By this stage we’d noticed that the most popular dish on the menu is probably The Eagle’s Handmade Angus beefburger with mature cheddar, brioche bap, skinny fries and Geronimo relish at £10.95. These mini towers were appearing from the kitchen at a rate of knots, many topped with a skewer of onion rings (add £1). It’s not surprising. The Eagle does good meat.
Our belly of pork was crisp and tender, just as it should be. The creamy mash wasn’t that creamy but complemented the rich meat well, as did the green beans and sage leaves scattered through the dish. The steak, too, was delicious, tender and well seasoned. Unfortunately the chef’s idea of rare (a bit pink) and mine (bloody) were at odds but it revealed to me how good the meat really was because it was springy in texture and I could still detect the delicious irony taste.
A lesser meat would have tasted like cardboard. I’ll just be more specific next time.
After eating for pleasure rather than just to taste, the choice of chocolate brownie, chocolate and cinnamon bread and butter pudding or pear and almond tart with marmalade sauce seemed a dish too far. But then I spotted the cornflake ice cream among the selection of ices at £1.50 a scoop. Well I had to try it…
For the uninitiated it tastes just like the milk that’s left when you’ve eaten a bowl of cornflakes with a light sprinkling of sugar. Not a bit like it. Just like it. So comforting. And not at all sickly like some over-creamy ices. “It makes you feel just like a little girl, doesn’t it?” said Viola with a smile. And, yes, it did.
Our two courses, a cup of coffee, bottle of wine and the scoop of cornflake ice-cream came to £62.10 excluding service.
February 15, 2013