|St George and the Dragon may light your fire|
A visit to the newest arrival on Acton High St
Anyone needing cheering up on a Monday (or any other) night and wanting some reassurance that Acton is a slowly becoming a pleasant place to spend time should take themselves down to the St George and the Dragon on Acton High Street.
However, first you will need to pick your way past the surprising marble erections (which look very much as though they were purchased in a monumental masons outfit) which are popping up in the Mount in amongst all the metal fencing and 'keep out' tape. As you wonder whether this project will be eligible for the prize for the slowest pavement-building project in history, almost opposite Barclays Bank you will find the newest arrival on Acton High Street.
This pub has been recently taken over by Remarkable Restaurants Ltd and was refurbished with guidance from English Heritage. You walk in to a cosy bar area with inviting tables and seating. There is a door at the back which leads to an enormous room (apparently this is where live bands used to play and there were - so one of the staff told me - all sorts of interesting and undesirable goings-on when the place was in its previous incarnation - the Shibeen).
This room is more dining room than pub. It's very welcoming and relaxing. My rant about pavements, building projects and tasteless marble was arrested in mid-flow. There's plenty to look at - including a Rousseau-style mural, posters, and two magnificent and gigantic Art Nouveau ladies as lighting centrepiece features. The overall effect is atmospheric and a bit unusual with some lovely touches. The staff are friendly without making you feel they're desperately pleased to see you.
Between the three of us we enjoyed Litovel Czech beer on draught (£3 a pint), a Peroni and some Highland Spring fizzy water. My pumpkin, pea and sage risotto was served with shavings of Parmesan and some rocket. It was comforting and well-flavoured. I was allowed to taste the mature cheddar-topped burger - which came with some great tasting 'hand-cut' chips, aoli and tomato relish and was very nice. However, I can't vouch for the steak which also came with chips, roasted vegetables, a good stilton sauce (served separately - a good idea) and caramelised onions as it was wolfed down with great enthusiasm.
We also tried the sticky toffee pudding, which is so often dry and disappointing - but G&D's version was "deliciously butterscotchy" according to one companion. It came - to our surprise - with chocolate ice cream which was also very good, but some might say this combination was slightly over-egging the pudding. Still, we were in a greedy mood and left nothing on our plates.
The dining room wasn't crowded but there were plenty of people eating in the bar. The relaxed feel of the place made me feel you could go there alone, even on a quiet day, and while away an evening forgetting the crazy world outside without feeling uncomfortable. Acton can count itself as extremely well-endowed in the foodie pub department and the St George and the Dragon is a welcoming beacon on the High Street.
November 14, 2007