19 High Street,
It is rare to find an authentic Italian restaurant within a popular village pub, but new restaurant Cilento's at the George & Dragon is just such a place.
Overseen by Italian head chef and co-owner Gennaro Passaro, Cilento's offers a full Italian à la carte menu and daily seasonal specials, as well as a different themed cuisine nearly every day of the week. The kitchen brigade includes a Czech and a Slovak chef, and on Wednesdays they even serve European and Czech cuisine such as goulash and dumplings.
The bright, informal restaurant leads out onto a popular outdoor deck where one can dine if the weather is fine. Personable co-owner, Nick, who acts as front of house, was on hand throughout the evening to suggest dishes that we might enjoy.
For starters we chose battered calamari, a tricolore salad, and grilled gamberoni - a light and fresh starter. For the main course we were tempted by the steak dishes, pasta and specials, which included a smoked salmon and langoustine salad, but settled on a fish dish and the Cilento's pizza. My bream fillet was served on a bed of grilled asparagus and pancetta with a buttery leek mash and was delicious, and the hand-baked house pizza came loaded with grilled aubergine, spicy Cilento's sausage and herbs; by way of accompaniment, we chose a spicy Italian red wine, a Villa dei Fiori from Puglia.
For dessert we tried one of the chef's delicious home-baked apple strudels and a vanilla pannacotta, and rounded things off with a couple of limoncellos. For good Italian food and wine at reasonable prices, friendly service and delicious cuisine, Cilento's is definitely worth a visit. Don't forget to enquire about the regular wine-tasting and tapas evenings - perfect for those who want an evening out with a twist.
Open: Mon-Fri noon-3pm, 6pm-9pm; Sat noon-9pm; Sun noon-5pm