• Interview: Kieran & Danny Clancy from London Restaurant Beagle
  • Posted 45 months ago by Jack Lowe · culture · 9893 Views
  • Looking in from the outside it may seem as though brothers Kieran & Danny Clancy have struck it lucky, but like any successful entrepreneurs the duo have worked extremely hard to get where they are today, taking a risk by quitting their day jobs and working tirelessly to build a name for themselves in both the music and food industries. We caught up with Kieran to talk about his upbringing, East London, and the British food scene.

    Photo: Toby Allen

    Could you tell me a bit about your background and how you got to where you are now?

    I was working as a finance lawyer in the City, and my brother was a surveyor in Soho. We started running events just for fun really, then they got so busy that we decided it was time to quit our day jobs and push things to the next level. Luckily it worked out for us, but it was a bit of a risk and we were basically flying by the seat of our pants.

    Opening a restaurant was something I've wanted to do for a long time. I've always spent more money than I could possibly afford on eating out at restaurants. We found some beautiful railway arches in Hoxton and spent a long time converting them into the stunning place that is now Beagle. It was a lot of work but the results have been hugely rewarding and we're so proud of the team we've got here.

    Nice! Do you see the music [KrankBrother] and food side of things as two entirely separate projects, or are they related in some ways?

    The skill set is similar. It's all about convincing people to buy into what you're offering. There is a lot of competition for restaurants in London just like there is for club nights. You just have to prove to people on their first visit that you offer something better than the rest.

    Yeah for sure. Who do would you say are some of the other restauranteurs who are currently setting the standard and doing some really great stuff?

    There are some amazing places to go in London at the moment. For Spanish food I go to Barrafina every time. If I want to drink interesting wine, I head to Duck Soup or Brawn. If I want to eat decent American BBQ I have a hard time finding it, but Pitt Cue in Soho is amazing. And for higher end American food I love The Lockhart. British food - we are spoilt at the moment. Apart from Beagle, I head to St John or Lyles. For Italian food I go to Trullo in Highbury every time. And I eat pasta at Burro y Salvo (check spelling) on Redchurch Street about twice per week.

    How did you decide upon the location for Beagle, were you focussed on finding somewhere in Shoreditch?

    We have both lived in Hackney for years and so we were always going to open around here. When we happened upon these incredible arches and saw how beautiful they were there was no turning back, for better or worse! I love East London. There are great restaurants, bars, parks, clubs, galleries and more. There's a lot of interesting, creative people that are hugely ambitious and intelligent. It can be quite an inspiring place to be compared with other areas. We travel to a lot of places with what we do, but I'd never want to live anywhere but London.

    Photo: Toby Allen

    You say for better or worse, what was the whole process of opening a restaurant like?

    The whole thing was unbelievably stressful to be honest. I enjoyed every minute of it but it probably shaved five years off my life expectancy! You really have to hit the ground running when you open. You have to be completely packed on opening night and every night for the first six months to build hype and customers. We were, and it gave us a lot of momentum to push on.

    Yeah, I can imagine! British food has really made a huge leap forward over the last decade, especially in London. What do you think kicked this off? Or did we just have an unfair rep before and it's always been good?

    We've always had amazing produce in this country, but the view until about a decade ago seemed to be that if you were going out to eat, you were going out to eat foreign food. French food for fine dining, Italian food or Indian food on the high street. Restaurants like St John showed people that we actually have an unbelievably rich food culture in this country, and it should be celebrated. Beagle is not a strictly British restaurant. We have a lot of classic British dishes on the menu that you wouldn't see elsewhere in Europe, but our main focus here is to source the very best ingredients direct from farms and fisherman, and prepare things simply to let that produce shine. Our head chef James Ferguson has a very deep understanding of seasonality, and so our menu constantly changes according to what is available and best at any particular time of year. This is an ethos that is very important in countries like Spain, Italy and Greece as well, and James takes a lot of inspiration from those countries too as well as the UK.

    It's great to have such a wide variety of restaurants in London due to its multicultural nature. How do you feel about the hype around things like Street Feast and the multitude of pop-ups?

    Street Feast is an amazing concept. It's a fun, reasonably priced night out for young people that maybe couldn't afford to go to restaurants. And a pop up is a great way to build your restaurant brand before spending hundreds of thousands on opening a place!

    To finish up, what are your plans for the future, both with music and food?

    We will definitely be opening another restaurant in the next few years but we aren't in a rush! We want to grow slowly and make sure we never compromise the quality that we try to maintain. Things are very busy on the events side, we are in the studio every week making music and we are doing more and more stages at festivals across Europe and beyond, as well as our usual 12 shows per year in London.

    Over the next few weeks we'll be unveiling an exciting selection of neighbourhood Originals through interviews, exclusive playlists and unique artworks right here on the Neighbourhood London hub Join in the conversation using #OriginalsLondon.

    • interesting read. didn't know it was the same dudes as krankbrother!
    • PJ Posted 45 months ago · 369 Reply
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