Monday 18 January 2010

Private Function at The George, Borough High Street, south London

A coaching inn and tourist trap dating from the seventeenth century, the labyrinth George Inn has a couple of elegant old function rooms upstairs you can book for a sit down meal or a business meeting. The three hundred-year-old building has been immaculately preserved by the National Trust and its tenant Greene King, so the function rooms are reached via an atmospheric and ancient wood-panelled staircase, which works its way round a small atrium. If you have at least a dozen diners, you can rent one of the spacious private rooms, which are also steeped in history, for free, assuming you buy a three-course meal for between £20 and £30 a head, depending on your choice of main course. The traditional pub menu lists nine main courses, five starters and five deserts, but your group can only choose two selections per course between them. In keeping with the prices, the food is reasonable and is served with little decorum by the mildy-stressed waiting staff.

Passable pate
One of the starters is a modest serving of passable chicken liver pate with salad, some slivers of bread and chutney, while the mains include a quarter roast chicken with stuffing. The meat, which can be a little dry, is served with mediocre roast potatoes and vegetables doused in gravy. To finish, the woodland fruit cheesecake is also okay, but far from memorable. Up in the top function room, you can't order beers from the waiting staff, so if you want a pint of lager or one of the Greene King ales, you will have to queue at the bar, two flights down. But they will serve you wine (starting at £13 a bottle) from the limited list. Even on a Saturday night, The George closes at 11pm, so if you are celebrating, start early. 7/10