‘Big Flavours & Rough Edges’

Appears in

The Eagle Cookbook

By David Eyre

Published 2009

  • About

I’ve always been more than a little bemused about why the Eagle was regarded as such a radical notion when it opened, and then how it became so influential in changing what we all now expect from a pub. To my partner, Mike Belben, and me, it was always obvious that simple, intelligent food was what London pubs lacked. 1990 was not a happy time for many London restaurants; the recession was hurting badly and, notwithstanding our desperation to have our own restaurant, we just couldn’t see how a medium-sized, medium-priced operation could make any money. Rents and premiums were ridiculous, the costs of providing all the expected trappings of service couldn’t be justified, and it was illegal to sell alcohol to anyone not eating a full meal. Besides, we didn’t have the minimum of £250,000 needed to open a simple restaurant. Fortunately, in the wake of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission’s ruling on the major breweries’ tenanting practices, there were for the first time a number of pubs available with new-style leases.