PULLING up at the Bolingbroke Arms on a sunny and warm February day it struck me that this would be a lovely place to sit outside on a summer evening, chatting over a pint.

It's an attractive pub. Set in the countryside at Greatfield, it has a pretty garden complete with a pond.

There was a friendly welcome when we entered the bar and we just had time to order a couple of drinks and glance at our surroundings before we were whisked off through to the dining room.

I'll be honest, we were a little disappointed. Although it had glass doors through which we could catch a glimpse of the fields, it was a bit dark compared to the sunny bar area and the decor had echoes of the 1980s.

Built in 1905 and later extended to become a small hotel, it is named after the Bolingbroke family, once owners of nearby Lydiard House.

Arkells bought it in 2001 and went on to refurbish it.

We were early Sunday lunch guests, having booked for noon because there were only a couple of slots left. A short while later we had made our choices and were ordering.

I went for the roasted tomato soup and my partner decided on crispy coated Camembert with a redcurrant and orange jam. Both arrived promptly. The soup was thick and tasty. I decided to go without the two thick slices of granary bread that accompanied it - a choice that proved to be right when I saw the size of my dessert not very long afterwards.

My partner was slightly puzzled by the runny dipping sauce that accompanied his Camembert pieces - he had expected something with a more jam-like consistency. But it tasted pleasant all the same.

For his main he had gone for slow braised lamb shank with minted gravy and mashed potato.

I'd chosen the chef's haddock and mozzarella fishcakes with new potatoes and cheese sauce. Again they arrived quickly along with a side dish of vegetables.

By now the room was beginning to fill up and we were uncomfortably

aware of people squeezing past our table. It was clear that the Bolingbroke was popular with families of all ages.

We turned our attention back to our food and reminisced about the fun and games we went through taking our own children out for meals when they were younger.

While it is fair to say I wasn't entirely impressed with the presentation of my fishcakes - the new potatoes were a bit on the chunky side - I was happy with the way they tasted.

They looked home-made and the gooey mozzarella complemented the delicate flavour of the fish.

My partner's lamb shank was so tender it fell off the bone and there was plenty of minty gravy to mop up with the mash.

The vegetables were a bit hit and miss though, the peas were overdone and the broccoli was soft while the carrots and cabbage were fine. But it was not enough to affect his enjoyment.

By now the volume level of the chatter was making it difficult to hold a conversation, although the dessert menu was tempting enough to delay our departure.

In fact, it was probably the highlight of this meal. The restaurant was very busy now, but the wait for his home-made Baileys and honeycomb cheesecake and my mixed berry pavlova with whipped double cream, meringue, clotted cream ice cream and berry coulis was only slightly longer.

It was a Matterhorn of a pavlova and as the strawberry garnish gently slid off the summit I wondered if I was going to manage all of the indulgent, luxurious creaminess piled up on my plate. Thank goodness I’d ignored the bread earlier.

My partner was equally delighted with his thick and creamy chocolate-drizzled cheesecake.

Replete, we headed to the bar to pay our bill - a reasonable £72 including drinks - and saw this too was now full of diners and had much more of the ambience we’d expected when we arrived.

Over all, while the meal itself was not one of the most memorable, the staff were friendly and efficient and we were happy to leave a tip.

It's a family-welcoming pub in a pretty location that does what it says on the tin.