The Eagle was the first of London’s gastropubs, kick-starting the welcome trend of honest, high-quality dishes served up in pubs that had been given a bit of polish. Since it was founded in 1991 by Michael Belben and chef David Eyre, The Eagle’s tiny kitchen has been so successful that it even cooked up its own recipe book, Big Flavours and Rough Edges: Recipes from The Eagle (now out of print and collectible). ‘Food that asserts itself successfully in such an environment’, it declares, ‘must be robust in flavour and not too finicking in presentation’ – think bold Mediterranean flavours, with an all-wood rustic interior decorated to match, fittingly festooned with chillies and spices. Service can be slapdash and the menu is straightforward, with no side dishes or starters per se, just a daily selection on an ever-changing blackboard of whatever’s good; so widespread is its reputation that it’s sometimes standing-room only, and always noisy. It’s the local watering-hole-cum-dining-room for the nearby Guardian and Observer newspapers, so keep your antennae alert for tomorrow’s news.