Bel & The Dragon at The George, a Grade II-listed former inn with features dating as far back as 1540, sits in the historic village of Odiham near Hook in Hampshire. The picturesque village offers the perfect setting for Bel & The Dragon’s unique combination of stylish accommodation, good food and a warm welcome.
I arrive at the restaurant an hour before sunset and am greeted by a stunning white and pink accented dining room flooded with warm light by glass adorned doors which lead to a spacious al fresco backyard patio. I immediately feel fresh while strolling to my table, walking past an open kitchen flanked by heaving wooden bowls filled with lime and lemon. Lush bouquets featuring nothing but white flowers adorn a central harvest table where pretty pink bottles of rose offer a swoon-worthy welcome. Comfy benches are topped with multi-coloured textiled pillows, tables offer the lonely flicker of a single white candle, shelves are teaming with old books and a choir of vintage botanical posters hang from the walls.
Head chef Ronnie Kimbugwe has created a series of menus full of twists on an array of classic British dishes, with a focus on local, sustainable and, above all, quality ingredients. The restaurant with its open kitchen allows diners to watch the chefs at work, adding a touch of culinary theatre to the dining experience.
My mug is smug after each plate arrives at the table, so perfectly presented that it makes this food photographers work easy as pie. And what a delight it is when you have the good fortune to encounter food that tastes just as good to your tongue as it looks to the naked eye!
Here are my Top 5 Must Try’s at Bel and the Dragon in Hampshire England:
Poached Duck Egg | avocado, bacon chutney, hollandaise
Marinated Beetroot and Burrata | basil pesto, pine nuts
Broad Bean and Watercress Risotto | candied olives, mascarpone
Roasted Suckling Pig | crispy crackling, spiced apple chutney
Eton Mess | meringue, strawberries, jersey cream