If I said I wasn’t a little wary of what I’d find at the newly refurbished Dog and Pheasant, I’d be lying.

I’m a long-term supporter of the pub; it’s my local after all. But under its former Hungry Horse guise it wasn’t anything to write home about.

As a pub, it got the job done but everyone in Mile End would tell you it needed some serious TLC. Thankfully the pub gods answered our prayers and gave the boozer a complete overhaul.

As I walked back into the pub for the first time, I was sceptical. Hundreds of thousands of pounds have been invested in transforming the watering hole, which now lives under the Greene King brand, but is it noticeable?

The answer to that question, thankfully, is simple. Yes, it is.

Gazette: Charming - the Dog and Pheasant's restaurant areaCharming - the Dog and Pheasant's restaurant area (Image: Newsquest)

How was lunch at the Dog and Pheasant in Colchester?

The new and improved Dog and Pheasant is completely unrecognisable. Sticky carpets, peeling wallpaper, and dated booths are all a thing of the past.

I popped in with a friend just after noon on a weekday between Christmas and New Year. With people enjoying an extended festive break, it was a little quieter than you’d expect during the usual lunchtime rush, but the pub had still attracted enough punters for it to have a pleasant atmosphere.

As part of the rebrand, the Dog and Pheasant’s menu has been ripped up and replaced with a fresh new offering, including a reasonably priced lunch menu.

Gazette: Tasty - I ordered a steak sandwich and my friend opted for a chicken and avocado ciabattaTasty - I ordered a steak sandwich and my friend opted for a chicken and avocado ciabatta (Image: Newsquest)

With the move to a more premium brand, I expected to pay through the nose for my pub lunch, but I was wrong.

At £8.49 for a steak sandwich, a healthy portion of rosemary fries, and an alcohol-free cider to wash it down, the lunch menu felt like a total steal, and the main menu also seemed very reasonable.

It was all tasty, too, and it only took a little more than ten minutes to arrive at my table.

Normally I’d order on the Greene King app for convenience which, annoyingly, wasn’t working on the day, but that wasn’t a huge issue as the service at the bar was fast and friendly.

Did the Dog and Pheasant impress us?

So, would I recommend the pub in Nayland Road? Absolutely! Greene King has done a stunning job at overhauling the Dog and Pheasant and giving it a much-needed new lease of life.

It’s been transformed from a rough and ready boozer to a trendy spot to grab a drink and a bite to eat in an up-and-coming part of Colchester.

Gazette: Fresh faced - the Dog and Pheasant re-opened on December 9Fresh faced - the Dog and Pheasant re-opened on December 9 (Image: Newsquest)

Whether you’re looking for a good place to catch up with friends and family or somewhere to enjoy a quick pint before a U’s match, you’d be hard-pressed to find somewhere as charming and sophisticated as the Dog and Pheasant.

And with its ample parking, improved garden with cosy seating areas and outdoor heating, and renovated toilets (where improvements were desperately needed), I’d even go as far to say it’s nicer than its popular sister pub – the Kings Arms in Crouch Street.

It won’t be long before I’m back. I’ve already picked my next choice off the menu!