The George & Dragon in Speldhurst is a traditional 13th Century Inn with roaring log fires and dramatic oak beams. In November 2004 Julian Leefe-Griffiths and his wife Sarah took over the pub with the aim to provide a pub that not only sold local bitters and good wines, but local, seasonal food simply cooked and using the bounty of produce that surrounded them in the heart of Kent. It was after a long lunch in a small village near Urbino, Italy where what was on the plate in front of them came from the surrounding fields, that the idea of producing a restaurant that sourced everything (within reason!) in a 30 mile radius was born.
Kent proved itself to be the perfect location with fruitful orchards, chalky soils producing excellent organic veg, and the heather moorland of the Ashdown Forest full of lambs grazing and Deer running free. It soon became clear that they were not the only ones with this dream and found many local producers who wanted an outlet for their superb artisan products. Cheese makers from near-by Sussex, milk from round the corner, Asparagus from Groombridge, the list just goes on.
Taking on this task was never going to be easy especially in the second oldest pub in the country, but local support and a strong team built up a great restaurant which has had the honour of winning awards including the Alistair Sawdays, Local, Seasonal Pub of the Year Award.
“These are awards that we are very proud of,” says Julian, “and we always strive to maintain standards if not exceed them.”
The relaxed vibe and comfortable surroundings of the George & Dragon make it perfect for a pie & a pint of Larkin’s bitter (made about 3 miles away) or Seared Scallops with Crisp Sea Pursliane followed by Slow Roast Belly of Pork with Caramelised Apple and a bottle of Gevrey – Chambertin.
There are high chairs for children and all the main courses can be done as half portions. Sunday lunchtimes are a great time for families with tasty roasts and a lively atmosphere and in the summer the delightful gardens provide a safe & smart environment for a chilled bottle of Rose and ½ a Kentish Lobster.
Ever striving to maintain standards and never compromising on the quality of ingredients the George & Dragon, Speldhurst remains the centre of village life while adding a touch of glamour to the countryside.
Food from a Farm, Not a Factory...