The George Hotel was second on the list of pubs in Dereham that Julian and I were visiting, a large venue which is also a restaurant and hotel. The hotel element comprises of six bedrooms, a couple apparently with vintage four poster beds, currently priced at between £79 to £89 per night.
There’s plenty of history about the George at the Norfolk Pubs web-site, but this intrigued me:
“The bowling green was reputed to be over 300 years old, one of the oldest in England – when tarmac surface laid over it during 1986 (?), to allow car parking.”
This sounds sub-optimal to me.
There were two real ales on, the Pedigree from Marston’s Brewery and the Ghost Ship from Adnams. It’s not always entirely clear at some locations, but those just wanting a drink are welcome here and the bar area is open throughout the day.
I went for the Pedigree and it tasted as I expected, seemed well kept and was at the appropriate slightly chilled temperature.
We didn’t have any plans on where to eat for our day trip out, but the menu here looked reasonable and the dining area was also busy, which seemed a positive sign. The pricing also wasn’t unreasonable in this current climate of rapid food and drink price inflation.
The menu promised a large bowl of whitebait and I was suspicious of that as I have a different definition of “large bowl” to some restaurants. However, this really was excellent for £10 and I struggled to get through all of the whitebait, which was a larger portion than this photo suggests as there was more buried at the bottom. The whitebait was evenly coated so I didn’t have to stare into the eyes of the fish, the salad was dressed and the ciabatta was soft. I was suitably impressed by this whole arrangement, with Julian also commenting positively about his pan fried calves’ liver, which was too decadent a dish for me.
The dining area was pleasant, clean and comfortable. There was table service offered and the staff member was personable, welcoming and engaging, with service always being attentive and not intrusive.
These were too technical for me, fortunately Julian was able to work out how I was able to get salt and pepper. This sort of engineering knowledge is what I usually rely on my friend Liam to provide.
This is an overflow part of the pub and this was formerly a shop, note the Victorian bowed shopfront window at the rear.
The venue has plenty of character internally and there are also some live music events taking place here.
As for the reviews, they’re fairly positive, but this is one of the most ridiculous that I’ve read and I can imagine the George’s annoyance at this:
“Can’t say much good about it, ordered two lemonades and lime for ladies and were brought over in pint glass, ladies don’t drink like that, not even the offer of half pint.”
I thought these attitudes had been dumped in the 1970s, I’m bemused to see such piffle still being propagated. The owner responded suggesting that it might have been an idea to order a half if that’s what they wanted.
As an aside, not only is the venue listed, but so is the milestone at the front.
Anyway, I very much liked the character of this venue and also the friendly welcome. The service was informal, there were a couple of beer options and I left having eaten too much, so that seems a result to me.