Fitzrovia isn’t short of a few boozers but there’s not many that can boast a menu designed by a two Michelin star chef. The George, part of the JKS stable, has just that, with culinary director James Knappett (of Kitchen Table) overseeing the food and publican Dom Jacobs running the show.
From looks alone you can tell that The George is a cut above the average pub. The 18th century building is Grade-II listed so lots of period details, including wood panelling, plasterwork, gilded mirrors and enamel paintings have been kept, with a recent refurbishment adding a nice bit of polish. Though we couldn’t see too much of the ground floor thanks to the throngs of people at the bar and spilling out onto the street because a warm evening in London = packed pub. Thankfully upstairs, with its series of beautiful rooms, including the red private dining room, the plush Gluepot Bar and the emerald green dining room where we were sat, was much calmer.
About the food then: pub classics are very much the name of the game but with lots of little details pushing things up a gear. There’s bacon jam and jalapeño mascarpone dip for some very good, heavily seasoned buttermilk fried chicken; a tangy Worcestershire sauce ketchup to accompany molten Welsh rarebit croquettes; and red curry seasoning and sriracha & kewpie mayo dip to liven up a pot of pork scratchings.
The mains section is a line-up of pub standards – cheeseburger, cheese toastie, beef pie, mixed grill – but the star player here is the fish & chips. It’s a fact that fish & chips tastes the best at the seaside but The George is out here flying the flag for kitchens far away from a sea breeze. These chefs know their way around a deep fat fryer because the batter is bronzed, craggy and, crucially, not greasy, so the chips sitting underneath the monster fillet remain crisp. The fish flesh is flaky, the peas are minted, the tartare sauce is thick, it’s everything you could want a plate of fish & chips to be – yes it’ll set you back more than £20 but it’s a gigantic portion and a tasty one at that. If you have room, or more likely have someone willing to let you share their dessert, the sticky toffee pudding with its rich butterscotch sauce and generous scoop of clotted cream, is an excellent rendition of an old favourite.
With cask ales, craft beer, seasonal cocktails and a mean Irish Coffee on at the bar and food of that quality coming out of the kitchen, it’s no surprise that The George is packing in the punters.
55 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 7LQ