Wednesday 3 March 2010

The restaurant at The George in Rye, East Sussex.

An tasteful mixture of old and new, the George's restaurant has wooden beams, paintings in ornate frames, rows of serrated, conical lampshades and stylish stencil designs on a sleek glass partition. On a Friday or Saturday night, you will probably need to book one of the closely-packed tables, which are mostly occupied by young couples. If possible, try and get one next to the comfortable, leather-clad benches running along opposite walls of the dining room. As you read the menu, which is billed as featuring lots of local produce cooked with a Mediterranean influence, you are offered a thick wedge of brown bread served with salty olive oil. If you are undecided, ask one of the polite, helpful and tall waitresses, dressed all in black, for advice about the food.

Fat, juicy scallops
Among the starters (£5 to £8), the butter bean, chorizo and parsley soup is thick, rich and creamy, but lacks flavour when you don't have one of the handful of cubes of meat on your spoon. The parsley can be hard to detect. The main courses (around £15) can include an impressive venison wellington with caramelised vegetables and some succulent and meaty guinea fowl wrapped in salty prosciutto served on a bed of spinach and mushroom risotto - a delicious and very filling dish. The fat, juicy scallops served with a crispy slab of belly of pork topped with a scintillating, small Asian salad, is also a treat for the taste buds, but lacks carbohydrate and calories. Of the deserts (about £5), a good choice is a small slice of chocolate and apricot tart, served with a champagne glass of rich, thick, creamy chocolate mousse. There is a long wine list with bottles starting at £15, but if you want to keep a clear head, the selection of 250 ml carafes include a smooth, velvety claret for £6.50 and an innocuous, refreshing white for £5.50. Housed in a sixteenth-century coaching inn, the George's restaurant is a classy, polished establishment serving generally fine food. 8/10