WE are greeted in The George and Dragon by a panting rottweiler the size of a small pony, who scrambles towards us with excitement despite the best efforts of his apologetic owner.

Luckily both Georgina and I are dog lovers, and watch the creature – whose turns out to be called Duke, a regular fixture in the bar – with amusement as he enthusiastically slurps water from a bowl.

The restaurant area is attractive with its metal dragon sculptures and split level floor, but empty, so the waitress shows us to seats in the bar where we can people-watch.

Our corner looks out onto a pretty courtyard backed by the church tower, matching the rustic style of the rest of the pub.

It is unashamedly unpolished, with wooden floorboards well-scratched by punters' shoes over the years and cushy green sofas sunken with the weight of invisible bodies.

The charm of this traditional village pub is made more-so by our chatty waitress who helps me decide on the barbecue chicken for my main course.

Being the only diners here, with just a couple of drinkers, the dog and a catchy music soundtrack for company, our food arrives quickly.

My chicken thighs (£10.95) are presented on a slate plate with a dinky dish of macaroni cheese and a colourful if slightly uninspiring addition of green salad.

The meat tears apart with ease as I dig my knife and fork in, succulent yet crispy-skinned.

I was wary that it would be smothered in a too-sweet sauce as with some chain pubs, but the barbecue flavour strikes the perfect balance between subtle and smokey.

The cheesy pasta seems a random addition to the plate, though I know the combination is popular in the States, but is delicious nonetheless.

After the enjoyment of the main meal we are encouraged to move onto desserts.

With more advice from our trusty waitress, I order a warm brownie with ice cream.

It is gooey and indulgent with a strong hit of chocolate that has me wanting to join Duke on the floor for a post-dinner lie-down.

The George and Dragon, Church Street, Sutton Courtenay, OX14 4NJ.