You may remember earlier this year, I reviewed The George and Dragon in Brentwood. Well, I headed back again, but this time to their newly refurbished Epping branch.

We really enjoyed the food beforehand and left agreeing that it was one of the best meals we had ever had. When the opportunity came along to head over to the Epping branch, we couldn't say no. This time, my boyfriend's parents Debbie and Terry joined us both which was lovely and it gave a chance for another two people to join The George and Dragon fan club!

I am unsure what the interior looked like before, but it is now stunning. Tucked away on Epping High Street, parking is quite limited and taking two cars made things a little more difficult. However, we managed to luckily get two spaces right outside the restaurant.

The restaurant is definitely living up to the festive themes that are upon us. The lighting was perfect; dimly lighting up the outside front with small trees decorated with twinkling fairy lights. Very cute and it was even cosier inside.

It was a very warm and welcoming greeting from the hosts at front of house who ticked us off a list and asked if we would like to sample cocktails and canapés at the bar or be taken straight to our reserved table. We decided to save our bellies and asked to be seated.

The restaurant is separated slightly with the bar and drinks area on the left and the restaurant side of things on the right. I like the idea of this if you want a quiet meal without having to put up with loud people drinking or vice versa; if you want to enjoy drinks without feeling like you're disturbing people eating.

The interior was super cosy and warm, almost making you feel like you are in a little pub house in the countryside. With a real roaring fire and cosy sofas in the lounge/bar area, we took our next steps to the right and was seated at a nicely sized round table in the corner of the restaurant area.

I liked that we was given 10-15 minutes to settle in and explore the menu and not jumped on and pressured to quickly order something. We ordered a range of soft drinks and a white wine for Ricky's mum. They do have a fantastic botanical gin menu that I tried out at the Brentwood branch, however I didn't want to drink alcohol as it was a Wednesday night!

We started off by catching up with each other whilst trying out the Artisan Rustic Breads (£5.95). A slate of rustic and freshly baked breads arrived with flavoured butter, olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dip into. Also included were some Nocellara olives which Ricky and I particularly enjoyed.

The menu is pretty simple but has enough choice for everyone; from pizza, pasta, seafood, steaks and burgers. Sometimes I find menus can be a little overwhelming with too much choice to choose from, but this one was perfect. There is also a separate vegan menu which I was very pleased to see. Even though I am not vegan, I do sometimes prefer ordering vegan or vegetarian meals, so it was nice to see that they're catering for vegans.

I ordered the Crispy Karaage Chicken (£6.95) which is exactly what I ordered before and I remembered how much I enjoyed it. Crispy and slightly crunchy bites of chicken were accompanied with a pot of katsu chicken curry sauce and ribbons of cucumber, kale and cauliflower cous cous salad. Honestly so recommendable.

Ricky went for the Chargrilled Lamb Koftas (£6.95) which arrived with two koftas on sticks, goat's curd, plum tomato, roasted red pepper, cucumber and a mint salad. This is something I was keen to try myself and will no doubt order next time if I am not tempted by the chicken again!

Debbie went for the Sweet Chilli King Prawn Roll (£6.95) which arrived with the most stunning of food presentations. Julienne vegetables, chilli, coriander and king prawns were wrapped tightly inside a see-through rice paper. Presented alongside a pot of chilli dipping sauce, Debbie said she enjoyed it, but wasn't a fan of the rice paper. However, I was aware that rice paper is big in Japanese food (something I particularly enjoy), so is a bit of a marmite choice. 

Terry stayed on the sea food theme and ordered the Lobster and King Prawn Pot (£8.25), which again came beautifully presented.  Devon crab is mixed with cream fraiche and was accompanied with toasted ciabatta bread slices for dipping and scooping.

All of our starters were demolished and enjoyed (sadly leaving the rice paper behind), so we was very much looking forward to trying our mains.

Debbie chose her favourite meat; Roasted Pork Belly with Seared Scallops (£18.95). I'm not a big fan of pork, but I must admit it did look rather scrumptious! A beautiful cut of pork belly was presented alongside potato dauphinoise, butternut squash purée, green beans, toasted almonds, crackling and red wine jus. It was reported to be a really delicious main meal and a side of seared scallops was the perfect addition.

There's a bit of an occurring theme here, but myself and the two others all went for 9oz Rib-eye Steak (£21.95) and I am so glad I did. I always get nervous about ordering steak incase it's not cooked how I like it. However, I am pleased to report back that the waitress listened and the chefs delivered three beautifully cooked steaks to our table. Succulent, easy to cut using provided steak knives and not too chewy.

The steak comes with twice-cooked chunky chips (very large and very yummy), crispy onions (almost like a tiny onion loaf, but not as sickly), grilled mushroom, confit tomato and baby kale. I ordered mine with my favourite peppercorn sauce (additional £1.95) which I love to pour over steak and chips. Gosh, I want another plate of it!

After feeling pretty stuffed and disgusted with ourselves, of course we ordered desserts when the waitress came back over to offer us the next round of food. Although, Terry was sensible and went for a coffee instead.

Ricky went for his favourite (he never orders anything different and actually ordered this at the other branch)... the Warm Belgian Chocolate Brownie (£6.75) which arrived warm, with warm chocolate sauce and a few scoops of vanilla ice-cream.

I can't say too much myself, as I also ordered a personal favourite; the Melting Chocolate & Peanut Bomb (£7.95). However, this one is different and slightly more sickly, but delicious with a sticky toffee pudding inside a chocolate shell and peanut butter ice-cream inside of that; delivered with a pot of hot chocolate sauce that the waitress has to pour over (for safety reasons), which melts the shell right before your eyes.

Just to add a little more naughtiness, on the side are some scoops of vanilla ice-cream and whipped cream. It's safe to say that I was unable to eat it all, but boy was it scrump-diddly-umptious!

Finally, Debbie ordered the Apple & Blackberry Crumble (£5.95); something I was rather tempted to order myself, but chocolate and peanut butter got the better of me. She said it was a lovely crumble, served with hot custard and a Demerara crumble. I sadly forgot to photograph this. Told you the chocolate got the better of me!

Once again, The George and Dragon pulled it out of the bag and we left all feeling and discussing how impressed we were with the food and service. I am already looking forward to re-visiting and exploring more of the menu.

Visit: The George and Dragon, 208 High Street, Epping, Essex, CM16 4AQ. I would recommend booking a table beforehand which can be done online or by calling 01992 579493.

Disclaimer: A complimentary meal was provided, but I was not obliged to post a review. All content is my own. 

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