The Beagle, 456-458 Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton, Manchester, M21 0BQ – Visit Now
The pub now known as the Beagle has had a chequered past. On an unlovely road in Chorlton, its past is pockmarked by failure. A Mexican eatery came and went. That was preceded by an unhappy modern British diner, which opened only after what appeared to be the longest new-build known to man; curious, really, as the place was like an inverse TARDIS – a tiny restaurant apparently doomed by its own, awkward architecture.
And it was, as it happens. An emphasis on craft and locally brewed ales, the glassing over of an outdoor terrace to create more space, and an effort to turn the interior from cold concrete shell into something more homely ticked all the Guardian-reading, left-leaning Chorltonite boxes. The food was less successful, though, with an early menu from Aumbry abandoned in favour of a Mexican street cart parked up outside.
However, it’s that Mexican theme that The Beagle has kept on with, launching an in-house restaurant alongside a brunch menu (good), an after work menu (ditto) and even an after school one, too – we’re talking fish fingers here, not illegal shots and occasional drags on a Marlboro Light round the back. All told it’s been a success – every time I’ve been in lately, it’s been heaving. And I admit to having been in quite a bit, what with it being a local and it being at the end of my road an’ all.
It’s the sort of easy meets-and-eats place Chorlton has been after
As for the food, well, it’s pub grub. Clever, complex gastro delights you won’t find. But it’s the ideal food to get your chops round after a few drinks with friends; small plates like popcorn shrimp lettuce cups (£4.50) do the job, though fried courgette wings (3.50) didn’t, thanks to a curiously earthy batter. The burritos are better, the baja fish coming with a zingy lime slaw, and a “lawndale” burger – of halloumi, aubergine and roast pepper (both £8) – plenty big enough to satisfy a veggie who normally feels a bit hard done by when it comes to doorstopper burgers.
The chicken bucket (£10) suffered from that slightly odd batter again; the menu says it’s “our special recipe crispy crumb” but it leaves an aftertaste of earthworm. The onion rings dusted with fresh coriander were epic, but the kimchi slaw looked as if it had sat in the fridge for several sad and lonely days (both £2.50). It was a hot blast, at any rate.
We didn’t eat dessert. We couldn’t – we ate a lot. And though the food was patchy, both my friend-in-food and I said we’d go back. In fact, we already have. And that’s because this is the sort of easy meets-and-eats place that the People’s Republic of Chorlton has been after for a good long while – but which only The Beagle has managed to pull off.
This is an independent review, but our writer didn’t pay for her meal. For more info on our editorial policy, read our About page.