Pub of the week: The George Inn

15 02 2012

What to do in Abbots Leigh when the pub that you make a special journey to have a drink in, does not open for half an hour? Explore, that’s what. I had previously only travelled through Abbots Leigh at speed on the A369 towards Portishead, so was thrilled to find several treasures during an albeit brief explore, including a delightful parish church, the grand former home of the Fry family of chocolate fame and expansive views over fields towards the Bristol Channel and Wales beyond. Take a look here at some photographs and more titbits.

After lunch service between midday and 3pm, The George Inn opens at 5pm on weekdays and the front door was welcomingly wide open as I concluded my exploratory meander. A crackling fire was being tended to by the barman at one side of the pub, while two cyclists on a pit-stop were gladly tucking in to roast potatoes from the previous day’s Sunday lunch.

Not frequenting the George in any of its previous incarnations, I cannot report how much it has changed since being refurbished last year by chef-owner Dan Powell, who used to work at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons.

Old meets new now, however, like much of Abbots Leigh where expensive new homes sit side-by-side with centuries-old buildings. Sturdy oak beams line the ceiling, with the one-room bar furnished with mismatched reclaimed tables and chairs.

With Powell in the kitchen, the George has already built up quite a reputation for its food. Bar snacks include pub-made pork scratchings (£1.50), and at lunch there is everything from “door-stop sandwiches” (£3.75) to fillet and faggot of pork, crispy sage, braised peas and leeks with cream (£13.25).

At supper, push the boat out with whole partridge with thyme roasted parsnips, potato and bacon ballontine (£14.75); and don’t forget about the puddings, which include blackberry puree, apple jelly and crème brulee (£5.50), and sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream ice cream (£4.75).

For a pub offering such excellent food, I expected a better selection of ales on tap than the boring triumvirate of Butcombe, Gem and Doom Bar. Repeating what I wrote when mentioning the same trio (with the addition of Tribute) at the Bird in Hand in Long Ashton, there is absolutely nothing wrong with these beers on their own, it’s just that in Bristol pubs they have become ubiquitous and predictable. It would be good to see more imagination here in the future.

During my visit, a group of young lads so enjoyed playing the pub’s dominoes that they pledged to buy some for themselves as soon as possible. Among this selection of old-fashioned pastimes on a windowsill near the fire, there are also playing cards, a chess board and cribbage board. There’s no fruit machine or flat-screen TV in this pub.

Less than two miles’ from Clifton, Abbots Leigh is well-worth visiting, and The George Inn is a worthy reward for any explorer.

The George Inn, Manor Road, Abbots Leigh, Bristol, BS8 3RP. 01275 372 467.



2 responses

15 02 2012

Morning, Regarding your review of the George, the reason you see the same real ales so often is because lots of pubs in Bristol, including The George, are ties to enterprise and have a poor choice of real ales to choose from, so Gem / butcomb are the locally breed option, and are the best of the choices anyway, by some margin.



15 02 2012

Regarding your comment about the ales on offer at The George, Abbots Leigh. Don’t knock it – it’s nice to see a pub with its doors open. If they sell real ale it’s a bonus, may the chemical contamination of our pubs by lager and crap bottled excuses for cider be held at bay for a long time by proper beer!

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