On the hottest day of the year (so far) my friend and I set sail for East Harling where we had three objects in mind. Firstly to pop in at Swallow Aquatics Garden Centre where they specialise in pond plants and everything to do with ponds – fish, fountains, special compost, even plastic ponds themselves. We had forgotten that they also specialise in various exotic pets such as snakes, geckos, parakeets and ... well I am sure I saw a crocodile.
A little late for lunch, we parked opposite the George and Dragon in the heart of East Harling. Inside the pub was a cheery waitress / barmaid who greeted us warmly. I longed to be outside in the lovely spring sunshine so we were shown to the outside dining area, and although not large or lavishly appointed, suited us fine.
Menus were brought and my companion and I rummaged through the entries; Steak and Ale Pie, Beer Battered Fish (Sole), Lasagne, Lamb Rump Steak, Scampi, Pasta, and a few ‘Specials Of The Day’ left us with a wide and varied choice of dishes. I chose the lasagne as it came with a salad rather than garlic bread or chips. My stomach was still recovering from a lunch I had earlier in the week (elsewhere, and I am not saying, but attached to a sports centre!) where I was presented with enough pasta and sauce (macaroni cheese really) to feed four ravenous teenagers.
I remembered that I love draught beer, so ordered a half of Nelson’s Revenge rather than the usual glass of wine, and it was wonderful; cold, sweet and malty. My companion chose the lamb and was really pleased with it, accompanied by chips and salad; the lamb was a little bit fatty, but when isn’t it? My lasagne came in its own cooking dish (again!) but it was so beautifully caramelised on the top, and the dish was very shallow, I didn’t make a fuss. Oh it was lovely; creamy, meaty and just slightly brown round the edges. The accompanying salad was nicely varied and didn’t contain my bête noir – raw onions, so that was nice.
Puddings were listed on a small blackboard, and Included Sticky Toffee Pudding, Vanilla Cheesecake, Tarte au Citron, and Chocolate Torte. Mine was the Tarte au Citron, and my friend chose the Cheesecake. Both puddings came with a scoop of ice-cream. We both thought that - at £6 each - they were a little expensive; £4.50 would have been more realistic, but they were delicious, and not too skimpy.
Unusually, the waitress asked us to pay for the meal before it arrived, but being outside meant that we could have bolted out the back way without paying, so this was understandable. Service was not the quickest as only one waitress was on duty, but we were happy to sit in the sun and wait.
The third part of our day’s mission was to call in at St George’s Whisky Distillery – also in East Harling – to have our coffee there. But there was so much else to see in the reception and shop area, that we used up our time. Going back to the car we noticed (duh!) that the Distillery actually adjoins Swallow Aquatics, and there is a neat archway entrance between the two.
Half pint of beer and long soft drink £ 4.20
The George and Dragon
1. Market Street, East Harling, Norwich NR16 2AD
Open Monday to Saturday 8.00am - 9pm Open Sunday 8.30am - 8pm Day Menu Available 10am - 6pm Every Day