DO you ever have that strange premonition-like experience of utter certainty that something you’re about to buy will be very good indeed?

That sudden urge to hand over your hard-earned cash because you somehow sense you won’t be disappointed?

For me, the thing in question is usually a book or an album by somebody or more than one somebody I wouldn’t know from Adam or Eve. Occasionally it’s a video game, and on one occasion it was a jar of jam with a label in a language I couldn’t identify, let alone read.

I think it was jam, anyway. It was pinkish and certainly tasted good on toast.

I’d never experienced such a premonition involving a restaurant before, but had one as we pulled into the car park of Casa Paolo.

“This is going to be good,” I said, and I was right.

The outside appearance of the restaurant is unmistakably that of a country pub, which the building was until about a decade ago if I remember correctly.

Inside, a small and cosy reception and bar area opens out to a dining section whose brightness and airiness were godsends on a rather stifling summer evening. The relatively few tables make for a relaxed environment with none of the claustrophobia and urgency which can turn a meal, even an excellent one, into a chore.

Our table had a view of the garden, and a group of geese – I’d say a gaggle but I don’t know how many constitute a gaggle – peered beadily at us from the other side of the glass door.

I didn’t spot any water fowl on the menu but would have been reluctant to order such a dish anyway. The goose which seemed to be the leader had the air of a creature to be reckoned with, and looked the type to arrange an ambush in the car park if provoked.

A large jug of iced water appeared without our asking, which I thought was a nice touch, and we were left to look at the menu. At Casa Paolo, the emphasis is on authentic North Italian cuisine and, as much as possible, locally-sourced ingredients.

For my starter I chose anchovy fillets marinated with lemon, garlic and olive oil (£6.95), and they were so tasty that it was all I could do to eat them one at a time instead of battening down on them like Korky the Cat in the old Dandy comic.

My partner opted for home-made bruschetta and spicy Italian pork pate (£5.95); we were warned on ordering that it was indeed spicy, and that is possibly why the pate was spread fairly modestly. Perhaps there should be a special version for spice-lovers. Speaking personally, I could cheerily have eaten a portion spread to a thickness usually associated with mortar on bricks.

Our mains were thoroughly excellent. My partner ordered what turned out to be delicious pan-fried chicken breast (£11.95) prepared with garlic and white wine, while I opted for Tagliolini Alla Boscagliola (£9.25), a delightful confection of thin, home-made noodles with cream, wild mushrooms, peas and parmesan cheese.

Like the best pasta dishes, it was both well-flavoured and comforting. It was also, like all Casa Paolo’s main courses, very generous indeed - so generous that when we were invited to consider a dessert we both thought about calling it a night instead.

That was a shame, as the ever-changing dessert menu includes a host of tempting options including apples, oranges and other fruit which have various kinds of alchemy worked on them.

In the end, we settled for a scoop of ice cream (£2) apiece - chocolate for her and rum and raisin for me, as I hadn’t had rum and raisin in years and was suddenly overcome with nostalgia.

As with everything else we ate that night, it was very good indeed, and as anybody could imagine from the rather bland and mass-produced stuff which passes for ice cream in certain other places.

The service throughout the evening was uniformly great - friendly, patient and efficient without being rushed.

Fellow customers ranged from couples to groups of friends and colleagues, and all seemed delighted with what they ordered.

Our bill, when it came, amounted to a little over £50, which included half a litre of the house white and was more than value for money.