It is not every day that you eat lunch with an internationally famous Hollywood star. And indeed, that is not something that I have ever done.
But one of my companions certainly got the star treatment when we went for lunch at The George at Great Oxendon recently.
My friends, Paul and Claire, and I had set off on a walk from Market Harborough along the Brampton Valley Way to Great Oxendon near the Northamptonshire border on a warm and sunny Bank Holiday Monday.
We arrived hot and thirsty and were shown to our table in the pub’s conservatory overlooking the very pretty pub garden.
The waiter came to take our orders for the much-needed chilly Coke, lemonade and lager and was stopped in his tracks when he clapped eyes on Paul, who he declared to be the very image of Johnny Depp.
Now Paul is a fine-looking chap, but I must confess that in all the years I have known him, I have never spotted the resemblance to hearthrob Mr Depp. And neither had his fiancee. “You’ll never hear the last of this!” I warned her.
To be fair, our good-humoured waiter was very specific that the resemblance was to Depp in his role as John Dillinger in the film Public Enemies, and even went off to fetch his iphone and find a picture to prove it.
Even stars have to eat, so we cracked on with our starters. Paul/Johnny Depp had the tasty smoked salmon platter (£6.95) and I had some lovely tender scallops (£6.85) that, though on the small side, were delicious and served with a crisp salad dressed in balsamic vinegar.
But starter-wise the clear winner was Claire who had the twice-baked cheese souffle (£5.95). Claire was tempted to choose this by the notes which said that they take it off the menu at their peril. It was intensely cheesy, soft and delicious and we could certainly see why it is such a favourite with regulars.
Accompanying this we chose a Spanish white wine, Rueda Viura Verdejo (£15), which went down well.
For the main course, Paul chose the Greek lamb casserole (£10.65).
It arrived with a generous sprinkling of cheese which did not suit as Paul cannot eat dairy products. Not a problem. As soon as we spoke to the waiter about it the dish was whisked away without fuss and replaced minutes later with a non-cheesy version. It was a delicious rich stew of tender meat which we all agreed was the nicest of the main courses we chose.
I felt the dish could have done with some fluffy potatoes to further soak up the goodness, but that’s only because the gravy was so very good.
Claire had the salmon main course (£10.65) which was full of flavour and tender, and I had the Moroccan chicken (£10.25).
This was marinated with lime, piri-piri and spices and served on a bed of couscous. The meat was tender and warmly spicy and was nicely complemented by the couscous.
We considered the idea of having desserts (£5.95), discussing how we had certainly earned the right to eat having walked all the way from Market Harborough, but as we waited we realised we were all far too full to do them proper justice.
We settled for a coffee each (£2.25).
So we set off back along the Brampton Valley Way, walking off a very nice lunch and with the added bonus of having a star in our midst.
DISABLED ACCESS Yes
PARKING Large car park
COST OF OUR MEAL
FINAL TOTAL: £78.50
Yvonne’s star rating: 7/10