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Restaurant review: The George, Hadleigh

PUBLISHED: 10:21 14 August 2018 | UPDATED: 11:51 14 August 2018

Steak and ale pie

Steak and ale pie

Archant

This much-loved town pub has new landlords and a new look, Charlotte Smith-Jarvis checked it out.

Pulled beef chilliPulled beef chilli

Food

Being a local resident, I’ve visited The George many times over the years, but have never sat down to review it until now. There are new landlords behind the bar. The whole place has had a lick of paint. And a new menu had just been launched, so it was a good opportunity to give it another try.

The thing I’ve always liked about this place is it doesn’t have any airs and graces. It’s not trying to be a gastropub – it’s more about sustaining, proper pub food. Somewhere you can pop into with your family or mates for a hearty lunch or dinner without breaking the bank.

The menu is certainly comprehensive, with lots of sandwiches, lighter bites and main courses, as well as specials on the board. Personally, I prefer to see a smaller menu. A few, really well made dishes. But I guess they want to appeal to everyone.

Chicken pastaChicken pasta

We just stopped in for main courses this time. First to try was the Pollo Zuro. It was a big old plate this. Loads of penne pasta (not overcooked) smothered in a sauce of cream, mushrooms, pancetta and stilton, with chicken. The sauce was a little thin to be honest, and could have done with a touch more salt, but other than that it was a pleasing bowl of food that even the stilton hater on our table said wasn’t too overpowering. I liked that the chicken wasn’t within the sauce mix, but had been cooked to golden depths and thrown in at the end, which added so much more flavour. The garlic ciabatta was tasty on the side as well. With some thickening up – and swapping white pepper for black, it would be excellent.

A plate of steak was received well too. Coloured nicely on the outside, it was cooked to a very juicy pink medium within as requested. Peas were vibrant and still juicy. And the chips were nice and crisp, but there weren’t many of them, and I found the mushroom very rubbery. That needed cooking in lashings of butter and seasoning to make it melt into the dish.

The stand out favourite thing we tried on the night was a new dish of pulled chilli beef. Traditional chilli is made with chunks of beef, not the mince we all recognise from Tex Mex restaurants, so it was nice to see a nod to the authentic version here. The bowl came with tortillas, rice, guacamole and sour cream. I personally found the sauce of the chilli too sweet – there was a hit of sugar before the deep, not-too-hot, chilli kicked in. But I was alone in this. Everyone else at the table really rated it, so it’s clearly going to be a winner with most diners. I prefer my chilli to be darker, with a bit more depth and much more spice.

A final plate chosen was the homemade steak and ale pie, which came to the table covered in a billowing puff of pastry – so much so it created little flakes of pastry ‘dandruff’ which flicked across the table when I broke into it.

Underneath was really tender, flavoursome beef (plenty of it for the price) bound in a thick, rich gravy which definitely had a kick of beer. The only thing I would say is it needed much more sauce. The sauce that was in the dish was yummy, but there just wasn’t enough to lubricate the whole thing.

On the whole, a decent pub grub supper.

Ambiance

This is a real pub without any airs and graces and I like that. It’s regularly full at the bar, and the dining room, despite being empty when we popped in, usually has a nice buzz. It was a warm day when we went in so I suspect lots of people were eating outside.

Parking

There’s a small car park out the back but you shouldn’t struggle to get a space. Otherwise there are two free car parks just a couple of minutes away.

Accessibility

The pub is on the level apart from a small lip on the side door entrance but should be pretty accessible for most. Wheelchair users may struggle to get into the toilets though.

Service

We’ve been served by the waitress who looked after us before and she is quite honestly a gem. So, so friendly, but in a genuine way. Nothing is too much trouble, and she remembers her customers and what they like and don’t like. They need to keep hold of her!

Price

Four main courses, a big bowl of extra chips and five drinks came in at £65, which is about average for the area.

Highlight

The pasta dish. It’s the one we all liked the most – although the chilli went down an absolute treat with the others.

Summary

If you happen to be in Hadleigh and want a proper plate of sausage and mash, gammon and chips, or fish and chips, this is the place for you. You’ll get service with a smile, and decent grub. It’s certainly not gourmet, but it doesn’t claim to be and sometimes that’s exactly what you need.

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