Determined to eat healthily throughout January, George‘s was actually 5th on our list of places to eat lunch. Due to our first choice places being closed, full up or simply not having much food left (we’re looking at you yet again, Clean Cut Kitchen!) we ended up lunching at George’s assuming that we could get a healthy alternative to/version of fish ‘n’ chips. We’ve visited before and liked the (much naughtier) big cod and chips with all the trimmings, but without feeling the urge to rush back to eat there again. Emily remembered seeing grilled fish on the menu and if it swims it slims, right?!
I opted for the grilled cod served on a bed of salad, although they insist on serving this with chips so it isn’t too healthy. You can swap this side for one of your choosing but it’s at a cost of £1.50, when most of the sides are the same price as the chips or less – um, why?! Emily opted for the lemon, tarragon & garlic chicken served with confit mushrooms and salad. Emily was allowed by the menu to choose her own side at no extra cost (what a luxury!) and so ordered spicy ‘campfire’ coleslaw, which we split along with the chips.
Then, disaster: an hour later, our food still hadn’t arrived (and we were already starving due to traipsing all over town trying to find somewhere that would actually feed us). Our waiter eventually informed us that the chef wasn’t happy with the chicken dish so had decided to start over, which I suppose is commendable but not when we’re already threatening to eat all of the condiments. Over an hour’s wait for 2 main courses is pretty unacceptable. They did however remove our lime and sodas from the bill and knocked off 10% to make amends, they did handle it as well as they could.
When the food finally arrived we tucked in eagerly. Although it looked as if it had been chucked onto the plate from a great height, my fish was well cooked but somewhat cold. I really, really hope this wasn’t due to it sitting on the pass for an extra half an hour while they re-cooked Emily’s dish, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on this one due to a clearly busy lunch service. The accompanying salad was really good, however – not your usual bunch of sad leaves but a medley of garlicky green beans, dehydrated cherry tomatoes (whatever they are), pickled onion and cucumber, beetroot chutney and apparently crispy jacket potatoes. Checking the menu now, I’ve noticed these didn’t make it onto my plate which is a shame as it could’ve done with some crunch. It was however tasty, with the sharpness of the pickled veg mixing well with the sweetness of the beetroot and tomatoes – great flavours just a shame about the cold fish and missing potatoes.
Overall, I enjoyed my dish but couldn’t help but feel a little let down that what should have been the highlight of the dish – the fish – was actually the most disappointing element. At £13.75 it felt like poor value.
Emily’s chicken was marginally better though still no wow moments. Not the most tender chicken breast in the world but it was seasoned well despite the edges being particularly dry – and this was the chef’s second attempt. Tarragon added a light aniseed flavour that wasn’t too overwhelming and the garlic came through nicely. The confit button mushrooms were possibly the best bit of the dish, really tasty but incredibly unhealthy as they were cooked confit (poached in oil). Emily also had the same garlic beans and interesting salad which did complement chicken. The cauliflower was horrible, it was cold and clearly boiled then burnt with a torch rather than chargrilled – the dish didn’t benefit from it at all. The overall lasting impression of this dish was the oil. The whole thing was dripping in grease and therefore wasn’t the healthy option grilled chicken and salad should be on paper, leaving a bad taste. Another disappointment, unfortunately.
Although they were the unhealthy part of the dishes, we found a saving grace in the chips and ‘campfire’ coleslaw – delicious. The chips tasted like proper chippy chips without being at all greasy and the coleslaw tasted fresh and creamy with a smoky kick of paprika. Special mention should also go to the range of vinegars present on the table – the red wine and honey vinegar made a great dipping sauce for the chips – rich, yet sweet and both were outstanding and unique. Disappointed by our mains, it was forks at dawn for the shared chips.
Overall, our food was fine-ish but we won’t be rushing back to eat there again especially for the fish and chip alternatives. Although we were compensated, the lonnnggg wait for our mediocre food wasn’t worth it. The healthy options turned out not to be that healthy after all and we can only conclude that you should – if you are going to a ‘proper’ fish and chip kitchen – just order the damn cod and chips. If you want something similar, we’d recommend the Cod’s Scallops in Sherwood before George’s any day of the week. Soz Georgie boy.
Atmosphere and surroundings: 6/10
Emily & Stuart