'I was instantly relaxed and ready to play among the fairy-lit trees and bright cushions'

The Eagle

Open Mon–Sat 11am–11pm; Sun midday–10.30pm

Stepping into the garden of The Eagle is a slightly disorientating experience. I was instantly relaxed and ready to play among the fairy-lit trees and bright cushions. However, I found myself missing something, my eyes moving from painted railing to painted railing, searching inside beach huts, unable to place what I was looking for—Mr East was running late, but it wasn’t him. Then I realised—I was looking for the pool. I had been so convincingly transported back into a childhood holiday that it had overridden the understanding that I was unlikely to find a swimming pool in the beer garden of a Shepherd’s Bush gastropub.

Despite my five-year-old self’s disappointment, I convinced her to sit down with me at a bench under the fairy-lit trees. We looked up at the adults drinking after-work prosecco on the balcony (pretty, cast iron). Someone had written on the blackboard, “Ahh, summer—that long-anticipated stretch of lazy lingering days, free of responsibility and rife with possibility”.

The manager arrived with some menus. I was now feeling in a suitably holiday mood, and with Mr. East still running late (it was tube strike day) I ordered some tapas-like options (wine-baked chorizo, £6.50 from the bar snacks, and goat’s cheese, chicory and broad bean salad with citrus dressing, £5 from small plates) and a glass of sherry. The menu is a bit structureless, which might have annoyed me on another occasion, but this evening it suited my mood.

Unfortunately the manager returned with the news that they were out of sherry, all except PX, and it felt a bit early for that. I re-perused the wine list and was happy to find a Cornish sparkling rosé, 100% Pinot noir (Camel Valley, £8.50/£44)—perfect. I sat back and waited. The manager returned. Unfortunately the Camel Valley isn’t chilled, it’ll take 20 minutes. Back to the wine list. A glass of Veuve (£11.40), third time lucky.

Mr. East arrived, and with him our starters. Another glass of Veuve for him. The chorizo was soft and tasty, though the salad was less exciting. We ordered our mains from the BBQ (our waiter pointed out the chef through the trees). Mr. East opted for the sticky pork baby back ribs (£14), I for the Cajun salmon. Each comes with a choice of two sides: red cabbage slaw, potato salad, summer salad, pasta salad. We ordered all four to share.

They arrived, prettily arranged in enamel bowls, perfect for a campfire. The pasta salad was pure 1980s, but we ordered a second summer salad. Mr. East’s ribs were the easy highlight, sticky and sweet and totally dirty, he licked his fingers with a smile on his face that told me his inner five-year-old was having a great time.

By now the temperature had dropped and, remembering we were in fact in Shepherd’s Bush, we headed inside for dessert. Well, for my dessert—Mr. East, stuffed with ribs, opted for an espresso, but I was still on holiday and went for the chocolate fondant, a double espresso, and finally that PX. They were all good.

We left in good spirits. The Eagle is by no means fine dining, but as a place to while away a summer evening it does admirably, and returned us to west London refreshed and playful.

The Eagle, 215 Askew Road, London, W12; www.geronimo-inns.co.uk/london-the-eagle; 020 8746 0046

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