I was invited to try the menu at The George and Dragon free of charge in exchange of a review. All opinions remain 100% honest and my own.
Last year I was lucky enough to be invited to visit The George & Dragon in Mountnessing in Essex to sample what they had to offer and I absolutely loved it – so much so, in fact, that I’ve been back a few times since for dinner with friends! So, when I was contacted by their namesake, The George & Dragon in Epping, and asked if I would like to visit them following their recent refurbishment, I jumped at the chance!
On the day itself I went along with Ben and my Dad as it was just a few days before his birthday (bonus daughter points for me) and, whilst in the car on the way there, Dad told me that he had actually been to The George & Dragon before – over 50 years previously when he and my Mum were on a double date with friends! How cool is that?!
Upon arrival it was clear what a popular pub and restaurant it is as it was absolutely buzzing with the sound of happy chatter. There’s plenty of seating available with various areas and little nooks, all filled with tables. The front of the building is the original part which houses a lovely cosy fireplace, and further back is what I assume is constructed of newer additions as made of newer additions as back in the day when the pub was built, they just weren’t as big as it is now.
Being the history buff that I am, I did a little bit of research and found out that The George & Dragon dates back to the 16th Century – 500 years ago! That sort of thing blows my mind; I always like to look around and try to imagine what it looked like in days gone by. I wonder what the walls and seen and heard – I bet they’d had some stories to tell if they could speak! If you go onto the Pub History website you can actually see the names of all the Landlords listed all the way back to 1791 when it was run by a Mr John Gray.
Before this visit I had never been to Epping before and I was actually a little surprised at how quaint and pretty it is. It almost feels like you could take all of the cars off the streets, remove the fancy flashy shop window displays and pop a few horse and carts along the road and you’d be back in time. It really is quite a sweet town (read more about it on the British History website here).
Having had it’s refurb the inside of the pub is now lovely and welcoming, managing to balance the décor perfectly between being modern and stylish, but remaining respectful to the history of the building. I tried to take some photos of the inside but being such a popular place I couldn’t get any that didn’t have people in it (I don’t like to use photos of strangers without their permission).
Upon sitting down we took a look at the menu and chose what we wanted. We made our orders and I – as always – mentioned that I have a nut allergy just to ensure that there were none in the food. (Obviously I always order dishes that don’t have nuts in their ingredients, however it’s not uncommon for them to be used as a garnish or added into sauces and crumbs etc).
What happened next absolutely blew me away.
Our server came back to the table and took away my cutlery – which was already clean – and replaced it with a freshly washed set. The table was then cleaned thoroughly around the part I was sitting. It was already spotless but they cleaned it again just to be 100% sure. I have never seen this level of attention to making sure I am safe and, honestly, I was lost for words. This was done without a big song and dance which I was so appreciative of as, sometimes, I can feel a bit awkward about being a ‘special case’. This level of care continued with the food served to me and I was stunned how keenly they attended to me.
So, first impressions were good, the service was top notch, but did the food live up to it? In a word: Yes. It was very tasty indeed!
Soup of the Day: Cream of tomato served with crusty vegan bread on the side
Salt and Szechaun pepper squid with aioli
Roast rib of beef with coarse-grain mustard seasoning. Served with smoked beef-dripping roasted potatoes, seasonal greens & roasted roots, Yorkshire pudding & bottomless gravy.
Battered halloumi (without batter for me) with twice-cooked chunky chips, minted pea puree and tartare sauce
Beer battered line-caught cod with twice-cooked chunky chips, minted pea puree and tartare sauce
Vanilla creme brûlée with home-baked sultana and oatmeal biscuits
Warm Belgian chocolate brownie with Bourbon vanilla ice cream
All of the dishes were served to us in good time, were fresh, tasty and hot as they were straight from the kitchen. It wasn’t Michelin starred fancy food, but rather closer to being a more gastro experience of the home-cooked, comforting meals that we all know and love. We all delved into our plates and cleared them with a chorus of ‘mmm’ and ‘ahh’ as we nodded our agreement to each other that we were really rather happy.
Overall, as you’ve probably gathered by now, we really enjoyed our visit and were so impressed by the whole experience. I definitely recommend a visit to The George and Dragon Epping, whether you’re dining with your family, friends, out on a date or even just grabbing a couple of drinks. It’s a great little place and we will definitely be back!
Edit: One thing I need to add here is that The George & Dragon (both of them) have full vegan menus too, so if you’re powered by plants, you’ll definitely find something tasty to eat at either of these two venues!