“ Address: 8 Churchway / Haddenham / Buckinghamshire HP17 8AA / United Kingdom / Tel: 01844 291403 „
The Green Dragon is situated in the Buckinghamshire village of Haddenham. It is set in the picturesque old part of the village very close to the traditional village green with a duck pond and the church nearby.
I had visited the pub many years ago as it is relatively local to where I live and I had found it unpleasant and unfriendly and had never returned. However last week was a friend's birthday and the place chosen for her meal was the Green dragon. I wasn't particularly impressed but someone told me that it had been taken over and was reopened in 2008 with the emphasis being on a friendly atmosphere and good food so I started to look forward to it.
The name is a little confusing and several people thought that it would be a Chinese restaurant because of the dragon connection. The pub is actually a lovely Grade II listed building and can date its history back to the 18th century. The attractive sign that now adorns the outside is a digital copy of the traditional sign which is now kept inside the pub for safe-keeping. There is parking available but the entrance is quite narrow and due to the fact that my car is quite large and I was approaching with the car park on my left I decided that parking on the road was safer and easier. I did have a look at the car park on my way out and noticed that it had several spaces as it requires some nifty manoeuvring to get in and out without hitting the brick walls.
In 2009 and 2010 the pub has received a Bib Gourmand award from the Michelin Guide. I had never heard of these awards and have since found out that they are awarded for the service of good food at reasonable prices.
The green Dragon has also been awarded a score of 100% on Cask Marque review for the quality and correct serving of its real ales.
On arrival I was struck by the pleasant interior. The owners have managed to keep the country pub feel with mainly wooden furniture, hard flooring and attractive fireplaces but the pale walls and thoughtful lighting give it a modern twist but without any feelings of blandness. We were immediately greeted in a very friendly manner and were shown to our table. We were originally a party of 10 but unfortunately one person was unable to make it. When we got to our seats the owners had put together several smaller tables for us but we felt that we would be too spread out to be able to hear each other. After sitting for a few minutes we got up again and a member of staff was with us immediately. We explained that since someone was missing we thought we would prefer to squash around a smaller table. They were instantly accommodating and moved all the furniture again for us whilst chatting amiably; we were not made to feel nuisances at all (although I am sure we were!).
We took quite a while catching up with each other and trying to decide on how best to purchases drinks, (whole bottles or glasses?). Once again the staff were exceptionally pleasant and did not hurry us but were swift with their service when we eventually made our decisions. They brought us several jugs of water whilst we contemplated what we were doing.
The menu was very interesting. There was a great selection of unusual offerings of both meat and fish and also a good number of specials. The only thing I now can't remember is how good the selection for vegetarians was. I presume there may have been a limited choice as although I am not a vegetarian I often opt for vegetarian options when I am out as they are so appealing and there was obviously nothing that took my eye this time.
I selected Spicy Thai Fishcakes as a starter (£5.50) and then opted for Roast Chicken with a Mushroom Jus for my main course (£12.50).
We waited quite a long time for our starters to come out but this was fine with us and we had chosen quite a variety between us. My fishcakes were very spicy and the portion was quite large, they tasted alright but the dipping sauce lacked flavour, with hindsight I wish I had opted for the Bubble and Squeak which looked delicious and certainly went down well with my friends. The seafood platters were beautifully presented and also were of a good size. The staff cleared away efficiently and once again were friendly without being intrusive.
The main meals unfortunately appeared to arrive in a rather staggered manner. We urged the people who had been served first to start or their meals would have been getting cold. The pub was very busy by this time and I got the feeling that they are used to catering for couples or small groups and on a busy Friday we were presenting a challenge. However the staff were apologetic and when the main courses arrived they were certainly worth waiting for.
Although there are side-orders available at £2.50 each we had all chosen selections that came with potatoes and vegetable so we didn't need anything extra. My portion of chicken was beautifully cooked and, as someone who loves mushrooms, the jus was really tasty and the curly kale was bright and attractive. When it was served to me I thought I would never eat it all as it was a large portion but strangely I soon found my plate empty! No-one was disappointed with their main course; there was lamb which was so tender it fell off the bone, tender liver and moist fish.
I must admit that I was so full I couldn't even contemplate a dessert but I did have a look at the list anyway. There was a large selection available but only one of our troop was up to eating anymore so she opted for the Sticky Toffee Pudding. This looked very appetising when it came and the portion size was just about right, I hate it when they bring out huge puddings as they tend to make me feel sick. She said it was lovely and finished it quite swiftly.
Coffees were ordered and then I was given the job of sorting out the bill. There had been four bottles of wine drunk but because I was the driver I did not try them. However nobody commented that there was any problem so I presumed they were all nice. At the end of the evening the two drivers paid £22 and the others all paid £31 each which also gave us enough for a reasonable tip. This seemed very good value to me as the food was tasty and unusual. I wouldn't choose the fishcakes again but my friend really enjoyed hers so I think they were just not to my taste.
What really set this pub apart was the general ambience. It was quite noisy but that was mainly due to people talking as it was certainly very full. The staff were all really nice and treated everybody as if they were regulars. I shall certainly be visiting again in the near future. I have not sampled their lunch menu but there seemed to be lighter options and a selection of sandwiches which sounded nice.
If you fancy a trip out and you don't live too far away then would certainly recommend the Green Dragon. The village is nice for a walk round and it is set in scenic countryside, not too far from Aylesbury on the Oxfordshire/Bucks border.