review by Liam Parket
The town of Fordingbridge is full of delicious eateries, and The George is no exception.
Situated alongside the River Avon makes this beautiful 18th century pub even more picturesque. Lit up on a pitch black winter evening, The George sits well with the surrounding buildings, yet somehow stands out.
The chatter from the other diners could be heard even over the sounds of the river, as like us, they had come to enjoy the food.
With several areas for dining, from a relaxed pub-style room to the one that was more typical of a restaurant, where we were seated, I felt that the George would be ideal for all occasions. Whether it’s a relaxed birthday meal or a night out with friends, the choice of dining areas makes it the go-to place for almost every eating out scenario I could think of.
I decided to take Connor, the only person I know who loves food as much as I do, to The George. Having visited before, he was keen to go back.
To call myself a mushroom-lover would be an understatement, so the Portobello Mushroom Risotto with Isle of Wight Blue stood out on the Starters/Lighter Bites menu for me, while Connor opted for the Pumpkin, Chestnut and Sage Soup.
If anything, the risotto made my love for mushrooms even stronger as, along with the blue cheese, it was so flavourful I could have eaten it again as a main course without hesitation.
Connor’s starter was served with three different types of bread, two savoury and one sweet containing cranberries. I tried a spoonful of his soup with speculation as I couldn’t imagine the flavours together. To my surprise the sage balanced the chestnut and pumpkin so well that it made a powerful, yet tasty, combination.
Once we had finished our starters I made a point to go out into the garden before the mains came.
I could have not got closer to the river without being in it, which I wouldn’t recommend at seven o’clock during the middle of winter. Warmed, not only visually by the lights decorating the outside area, but also by the outside heating, it made the perfect place to come and enjoy a drink at any time of day.
I could tell that the garden area was perfect for the summer. Sitting along the river for lunch or dinner during the warmer and lighter evenings is “very popular” said a member of staff as I spoke with her about the appeal The George has with visitors year-round.
made a lot easier by the thought of the Halloumi Burger with Roasted Pepper and Hummus served with Sweet Potato fries I had ordered.
It came along with Connor’s order of Fillet Steak with Grilled Plum Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Watercress, Onion Rings, Triple Cooked Chips with a Garlic and Herb Butter.
The crispy halloumi with soft hummus is a great combo and The George went one step further freshening it up with roasted peppers all between a soft brioche bun. This made it one of the best veggie burgers I’ve ever had. Sat next to a portion of sweet potato fries, it was hard to believe someone hadn’t read my mind when coming up with this dish.
At the other end of the table the fillet steak presented itself as a more classic dish but was just as flavoursome, in a very different way. Wonderfully cooked onion rings sat on top of a steak, that you could almost have cut with a spoon, alongside chunky chips.
After a brief break and a discussion with the waitress about the best desserts, we decided to try the Brioche Bread and Butter Pudding with Chocolate and Cranberry with Vanilla Ice Cream and the Rolo Brownie that also came with vanilla ice cream.
My first thought when trying the bread and butter pudding was confusion as to why I hadn’t heard of it being made with brioche bread before. It was just the way it should be, with that extra sweetness from the brioche being the icing on the cake.
I could understand why the Rolo brownie was a “customer favourite” as it brought together a traditionally harder dessert with the softness of the classic chocolate and caramel sweet.