NESTLED away in the village of Yealand Conyers, about a 25-minute drive out of Lancaster off the A6, The New Inn is one of my favourite places to enjoy a meal away from the city.
Far enough away to constitute an escape into the countryside, but not so far as to feel like a real mission to get to, my partner and I decided to take a drive out in glorious sunshine on a lazy Sunday evening.
The building itself, which is divided into a formal dining area and a cosy pub lounge, lends itself to more of a wintry feel with its traditional dark decor and wooden beams.
What I hadn't noticed on previous visits, enjoyed during more inclement weather, was the large beer garden at the back of the pub – ideal for a nice summer's day.
So we ordered drinks – myself a refreshing pint of Dissy Blonde ale, and my partner an Appletiser – and found a bench out in the sun before perusing the menu.
There's plenty to choose from, including sandwiches and warm baguettes, and starters like duck liver pate, seafood salad and mussels. But we decided to go straight for the mains, which range from pub classics like free range chicken in a basket and pie of the day to dishes like Cumberland sausage and mash, salmon fillet and beef in beer.
There are of course a selection of Sunday roasts, which you can choose as part of a Sunday Special comprising either two courses for 11.95 or three for 13.95.
On this occasion though, I went for the 8oz fillet steak and chips on a Madagascar green peppercorn sauce with red wine and cream. (16.75)
My partner chose one of the specials, pork medallions on mustard mash with seasonal vegetables. (10.95)The service was polite and
efficient and about 20 minutes after we had placed our order at the bar our meals arrived.
I was immediately concerned by the colour of the steak which I had asked for medium rare, but which was almost black at one end.
And sure enough, it turned out to be very well done, which was a shame because it was certainly a nice piece of meat, layered with peppercorns.
I don't know whether it was a case of my request not being passed onto the chef or careless cooking, but either way it was the first time I had been disappointed by any aspect of a meal here.
I could of course have complained and asked for another, but I was too hungry to wait and you don't want that sort of hassle when you're eating out.
Fortunately, the sauce was very good, rich and just fiery enough, and the chips were absolutely fine.
My partner's pork medallions also arrived well done, although she had not specified how she wanted them cooked, but she enjoyed the mash and vegetables.
The portions were certainly of a decent size and neither of us had room to sample the choice of puddings at 4.85 each.
So overall then, the only disappointment was the over-done meat – unfortunately the integral part of the meal.
But having enjoyed eating at The New Inn several times before, I'm confident this was a rare aberration and would still recommend a visit to this homely hostelry.