The following is a verse from a nonsense rhyme I learned as a kid growing up in the Peak District in Derbyshire:
Up and down the City Road
In and out the Eagle
That’s the way the money goes
Pop goes the weasel

Its title is contained in the last line. The whole thing made no sense to me at the time and it makes very little more now, although I do now know the Eagle pub on the City Road. But as a link to this restaurant review, I concede that makes little sense either. This is about the Eagle pub on Farringdon Road in London, a little further west but about equidistant north of the centre of the capital as its rhymed namesake.

This particular Eagle is widely, and I think fairly, feted as being the first gastropub in the country. It’s 30 years old, for heaven’s sake. In a recent review in the Sunday Times, Marina O’Loughlin wrote “the Eagle today has aged far more imperceptibly than I have: it’s exactly as I remember. I nearly write ‘perhaps a bit more scuffed around the edges’, but it was always scuffed around the edges”. She’s right. It was. It is.

A generous selection of drink options are listed on the blackboards behind and above the bar; as you can see, lovers of draft beers are catered for, too

You can perhaps get some sense of this from the interior shot displayed on the home page. Ordering food is done as you would order drinks at a pub. You go to the bar and either pay there and then or start a tab. I was hugely tempted to order the fusilli with sardines and fennel or the onglet with beetroot, rocket and horseradish, but in the end I settled for what you see below – grilled pork chop, cannellini beans (not to be confused with cannelloni!) and roasted red onion, accompanied, as you can see, by a modest-sized glass of very nice rosé. It was perfect.

Lunch at the Eagle: apart from the food being reliably excellent, the portions are generous without going overboard in the way they frequently do in the US (and quite often in the UK)

The Eagle has been a trend-setter, and no mistake. I remember from my early visits that eating in an establishment which had an open kitchen, which meant you could watch as the chefs went about their work, seemed possibly rash and definitely weird. Not any longer. It was a great place to eat in the 1990s and it remains so in the 2020s. And probably for a great deal longer than that.

The beginning of that aforementioned rhyme goes:
Half a pound of tuppenny rice
Half a pound of treacle
That’s the way the money goes
Pop goes the weasel

No, me neither. But when I was there, rice was on offer as a side dish and in a risotto at the Eagle, albeit of treacle there was no sign. Also no weasels.