By Jack Peat, Editor of The London Economic
Life for the residents of London is all about finding new things before they become too popular. I used to dine in dynamic stone-baked pizza eateries in Soho before the queues began to stretch down the road, I even ate lobster and burgers and sipped champagne with hotdogs before the notion of finding a table in such eateries became laughable. But we persevere, because the next big thing is never far away.
This pursuit is what led to me to Acton on a crisp Tuesday night en-route to the Dragonfly Brewery for two-for-one burger night. The microbrewery-come-gastropub is located in The George & Dragon which is a glorious establishment that dates back to 1529 with polished mahogany lining the low ceilings and a roaring fire seductively luring you in off the busy high street.
The pub is completely out of place. Think The Leaky Cauldron meets Hogsmeade meets Central Acton for those Potter aficionados. Located adjacent to the behemoth Morrisons that occupies the main square and slap bang in the middle of what seems to be the fried chicken square mile of London the pub’s historic feel and gourmet offering sticks out like a sore thumb at first glance, but then Acton does seem to be enjoying its first bite at gentrification.
Nestled between Ealing and Chiswick there are notable waves of delicatessens, cafes and bars lining the streets on the short walk up from the lovely Overground Station, one wine store (I found on further investigation) that sells biodynamic and organic wines from artisan producers particularly caught the eye. It’s not quite ready for a Waitrose and it may be some time before Foxtons starts to sniff around the area, but in the meantime its residents are being treated to minor gastro revolution (chickens rejoice!).
The George & Dragon menu is tremendously appealing. The microbrewery, which is on full display behind the bar, is put to good use in the cuisine with their Achtung wheat beer used in the kitchen and Dark Matter stout well paired with the black pudding fritters or pork and chorizo sausage rolls on the snack menu which make for some wonderful entrées or tapas-style sharing dishes. But the delicious stout really comes to life in the eclectic burger menu, used in all the beef patties on the menu which are utterly scrumptious.
My girlfriend and I opted for the Dragon – beef patty, pulled beef brisket chilli, Jalapeños, sour cream – and the Old Smokey – beef patty, smoked bacon, cheddar, Early doors pulled pork – but spent some time consulting the equally appealing St. George – beef patty, smoked bacon, Cheddar, onion jam – and (would be naughty) the Full Monty – 2 Beef patties, smoked bacon, pulled beef brisket chilli, cheddar, Jalapenos.
The burgers were exceptional. Thoughtfully constructed and perfectly cooked the luscious meat was complemented by smoky bacon flavours and melted cheese stuffed precariously inside a chargrilled brioche bun. We washed it down with a bottle (or two) of the house red wine which was among the best house bottles I’ve tasted in some time, embodying a cornucopia of floral scents with a delicate, well rounded finish.
As we sat within metres of a rustic log fire and relaxed with bulged stomachs we reflected on what a wonderful venue this is. Go check it out by all means, but for heaven’s sake, don’t tell anyone else!