One of my greatest pleasures in life, other than laying on my sofa and morphing into the comfy little potato I am, is going out for something to eat. Generally, I will always favour eating in a pub to a restaurant, I’m definitely more of a low-key, comfy venue lover rather than something a bit more swanky, so when I was asked to pop along to The George and Dragon pub in Mountnessing I jumped at the chance.
Newly refurbished, this pub is one that I have been aware of for some years but have never actually visited. When I worked in Estate Agency, this was one of the areas that I covered and so I often drove past it but not once did I venture through its doors. No real reason, just that despite it being close to work, it wasn’t close enough to my home to warrant popping down there for a bite to eat of an evening or weekend.
Trading since at least 1769, the outside of the pub is very English countryside classic, and you can definitely picture it in years gone by when pubs were more of a fixture of everyday life for the average Joe and Josephine.
There’s a huge car park and a beer garden that is just as sizeable – there’s plenty of tables out there for some alfresco dining or just grabbing a couple of drinks with friends on the rare occasion that the sun decides to shine on our here in Blighty.
Walking in the front door of the pub you’re greeted by big stone floors, a good size bar, low ceilings, wooden beams and huge fireplaces. There’s so much history in there and I can’t help but wonder what tales they would tell if the walls could talk.
Upon arrival we were taken to our table at the back of the venue overlooking the garden. The interior of the pub is surprisingly big and there’s lots of different levels and spaces meaning it would make the perfect place for a special occasion, as you could easily be seated off slightly away from the other diners so as to make it more intimate. Ben and I spent a long time looking around and planning what we would use each space for if we were to live there; I found a very nice little area that I would fill with squishy sofas, bean bags and book shelves, ideal for losing an afternoon in the pages of a good story and for having a cheeky little nap.
As well as the normal menu, The George and Dragon also have a dedicated vegan menu which is something that really impressed me. Although I’m veggie, not vegan, to see different diets being catered for and for them to be moving so closely with the times and the increase of veganism definitely shows an awareness of customer needs and a willingness to embrace them.
Having ordered our drinks – a beer for Ben and a lovely, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc for me, we placed our order for our food and settled down to wait for it to arrive. However, the wait was enhanced massively by the handing to us of some seasoned flatbread sticks to tide us over. These were much nicer than expected and I hardly came up for breath between shovelling them in my face.
For my starter I opted for pea soup with life-changingly-delicious artisan bread and Ben had chargrilled lamb and balsamic koftas. The soup was the perfect consistency (I can’t stand it when it’s watery but this was lovely and thick) and Ben made a lot of appreciative noises about his koftas and has spoken them numerous times since our visit, which is high praise indeed!
For our main meal, as it was a Sunday, Ben opted for a traditional roast dinner with a trio of meats (beef, pork and chicken) – as you can probably tell, he hasn’t embraced the veggie life alongside me, he’s still very much a carnivore. Coming with apple butter, stuffing wrapped in bacon and crackling, he says this is literally the best roast dinner he has ever had in his life anywhere. Better than mine even… rude.
I chose something from the vegan menu, picking the roasted butternut squash and sweet potato tart. This was very generously sized, being far too big for me to finish, and absolutely packed full of not only the two named ingredients, but also asparagus, tomatoes, red onion and peppers. This wasn’t an absolute winner for me and I found myself wishing I’d ordered the roasted aubergine, spinach and harissa burger instead, which I did when I returned to the pub a week or so later, and was an absolute hit! There was nothing wrong with the tart, it just wasn’t to my taste, which is obviously down to personal preference only.
Because we live a Treat Yo’self style of life we threw caution to the wind, loosened our trousers and ordered a dessert. I, being a greedy little animal, started chowing down on mine before I took a photo of it (it was a sticky toffee pudding, so just imagine what that looks like) but Ben was a little more restrained and managed to take a photo of his warm Belgian chocolate brownie before he dug in. These were an absolute triumph and the perfect end to a really, really nice meal.
Overall, we can’t fault The George and Dragon even a tiny bit. The building is nice, the service is perfect (likewise on the times we’ve been back since) and the food was absolutely delicious. Since I turned veggie it’s really surprised me how many places offer little-to-no choice for us non-meat eaters, but this place goes one step further and has an entire dedicated menu for vegans. It was so refreshing for me to go somewhere to eat and actually be spoilt for choice, rather than staring at the menu and feeling the disappointment of having only 2 or 3 things to choose from.
Both Ben and I absolutely loved our time here and it’s definitely going to be a regular haunt for us in the future. It might not be a stroll down the road and a stumble home for us, but it’s worth driving out to jumping in a cab to spend some time somewhere so welcoming and offering such good quality.
A big thank you to The George and Dragon for inviting us down and treating us to such a lovely meal, it was greatly appreciated and you’ll definitely be seeing more of these two happy faces in the future!
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