The George and Dragon pub at Upton is a great destination for walkers and cyclists. It’s only a couple of miles from Didcot along the old railway embankment and it’s also a convenient halfway stop for those heading up onto the Ridgeway.
That said, we drove over for lunch. No excuse really, aside from it was a cold and grey January day. Even though the walk would have done us good!
There’s nothing fancy about the menu, it’s traditional pub grub. Starters include soup, pate, breaded prawns and garlic mushrooms. Mains include burgers, gammon, sausage and mash, steaks and ham, egg and chips. There is only one choice for vegetarians, Thai red vegetable curry.
As we were only stopping for lunch we opted for sandwiches from the Light Bites section, whilst my son had burger and chips. Sandwich fillings were primarily meat and fish based, vegetarians could choose from fried egg or cheese sandwiches.
The children’s menu offers chicken nuggets, fish fingers or ham or cheese sandwiches (all served with Smiley Faces and baked beans, corn on the cob or peas).
The dessert menu featured syrup pudding, apple pie, sticky toffee pudding and gluten free chocolate fudge cake.
If you’re visiting on a Sunday you’ll find a selection of meat roasts served between 12 noon and 7 pm – probably best to book a table in advance.
We usually sit outside in the garden during the summer months. However it was too cold to consider outdoor dining so we headed indoors.
The pub was busier than I expected. One side was full of diners but there were still tables available on the far side. These filled up during our visit so pre-booking is probably a good idea. There were a few locals at the bar, but most visitors appeared to be family groups eating meals.
There’s also a relatively new covered extension to the pub which was empty when we visited. This is promoted as a function room but I assume it can also act as an overflow from the pub.
Sandwiches were served with a side salad and chips (which were excellent). The bread was good quality, although I did prefer it when they used to offer baguettes. I’m not keen on my food being served on a wooden board but I’m sure most readers aren’t as fussy about this as I am!
My son inhaled his beef burger in a couple of minutes which I guess is a great recommendation.
Most main meals were around the £11-£13 range, which makes this slightly cheaper than other local pubs. The fillet steak was the most expensive option at £24.95.
Our sandwiches were £6.50 for two fillings. This was good value if, for example, you opted for sausage and egg. However, as a vegetarian the only combination I could have was fried egg and cheese, which would have been rather strange so I just had the one filling.
The service was excellent. The lady who served us was friendly and efficient, proactively offered condiments and checked back to ensure we were happy with our meals.
Address: George and Dragon, Reading Road, Upton, OX11 9JJ.
Kitchen hours: Lunch served 12:00-15:00 Monday to Sunday. Evening meals served 18:00 to 21:00 hours Tuesday to Saturday 12:00 to 19:00 hours Sunday. No food on Monday evening. The pub is open daily for drinks from 12:00 to 23:00 hours, except on Monday when it closes at 19:00.
Food hygiene rating: 4 stars, as of October 2020.
Further info from the George and Dragon website.