(Michael Hutchence) – The Green Dragon, Youngs End, Chelmsford
The jungle drums had sounded, one of our old school mates was back in the country. and an ad-hoc school reunion had been arranged. We’d done similar before, the same group, at Chutney Joes Indian restaurant in Brentwood, back in 2009.
The same half a dozen of us at The Green Dragon, near Great Leighs.
The Green Dragon sits on London Road, which would have been a busy road until the brutal new A131 was constructed a few yards away. The subsequent lack of passing trade doubtless forced this 18th century inn into the clutches of the pub chains.
We arrived just before eight on a Wednesday evening, there were a few couples around the bars, but it could not be described as ‘busy’. The décor is a designer’s interpretation of a ‘traditional’ vernacular, I’ve seen it done better, and worse. It’s an ‘Old English Inn’, which is Greene King’s estate of around 100 similar pubs.
There’s a good sized car park, and a pleasant enough beer garden outside;unfortunately it wasn’t a ‘sit outside’ evening, despite being only a week or so after mid-summer.
We found our way to a small bar at the far end of the pub and settled in. The beers on tap were Green King IPA, Old Speckled Hen and Golden Hen, draught lagers were Peroni and Amstel.
After a couple of beers we decided to order some food, this being a ‘school night’ we figured that a midnight kebab (we’ve done it before), would probably be ill-advised.
However, it being a Wednesday, the ‘Dragon’ had an ‘Indian Feast’ offer which offered a choice of curry – Chicken Korma, Chicken Tikka Masala, Chicken Jalfreizi, Beef Madras, Lamb Rogan Josh, and a vegetarian Masala. Although the Rogan Josh had sold out when we ordered, and we skipped the veggie option. These are all served with Rice, Saag Aloo, popadoms, and naan bread.
With a drink – a pint of IPA or lager – for a tenner.
I’m not sure exactly what was ordered; I think Bob Windsor ordered ‘one of everything available, except the veggie’ and ten minutes later our table was laden with dishes of curry and plates of accompaniments.
To be honest, the food was reminiscent of the Indian meals you get at your (well mine at least) local supermarket; the popadoms were thin and crispy, but the naan bread was thick and slightly rubbery, and the main courses frankly uninspired. I struggled to differentiate the dishes, except the Korma. A couple of side portions of ‘South Indian samosas’ were well filled, tasty and quickly devoured.
It’s probably unfair to gauge an English country pub based on a curry offer, so I’d be happy to come back on another occasion and try the rest of the menu.
But that menu is in itself hard to differentiate from other pub-chains.
Nevertheless, a pleasant enough pub, with well-kept beers.
A good venue for a quiet evening with mates, I suspect we’ll be back, but I’d pass on the Indian offer next time.