The History

The Eagle was opened in January 1991 by Michael Belben and David Eyre. We worked in Covent Garden restaurants and yearned to open one of our own. But the rents and premiums were ridiculous, and the cost of providing all the expected trappings of restaurant service just couldn’t be justified.

People like Alistair Little in Soho, Rowley Leigh at Kensington Place and Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers at River Café were already shaking up the restaurant scene, and colour supplements and fashion magazines were feeding the hungry public with its sumptuous imagery.

Around the same time, the pub business was opening up. Legislation was slackening the grip that the big brewers had on the trade, and new style leases were becoming available.

The timing couldn’t have been better. We grabbed a cheap tail end lease on a pub, gave it a lick of paint and added a decent selection of wine and a few rums to the draught beer and lager that was already on offer. From an eight foot by five foot kitchen we served a soup, sausages from Gazzano’s next door, crostini, a steak sandwich, a salad of some kind, and from the cooker in the flat, a casserole and an oven dish.

In three months from the depth of a recession, we made enough money to extend the kitchen into the bar and install a chargrill, a cooker, some proper fridges and ventilation. By now, Rose had introduced us to Pedro Chaves, our first chef who taught us some tricks from the River Café. With our car boot crockery and cutlery, no frills service, and “big flavours and rough edges”, we were off…!