I WAS surprised to discover simple food that blows you away at the back of what I thought was a cosy public house.

When walking past the Sun Hotel, stationed in the middle of Kirkby Lonsdale, I had always decided it looked like a quaint traditional pub – nothing more and nothing less.

But behind this exterior there lies a very fashionable and quite swanky restaurant: boasting big cushioned chairs, large tables, a grand candle centre piece and waiting-on staff who do their best to make everyone feel as important as royalty.

The pub section can barely be heard when you are in the tranquil setting of the dining area at the back of the building.

Its a la carte menu offers customers a three course meal for £25.95 per head.  This comes with a taster soup which on the night was a thick creamy tomato served in a stylish cup and saucer.

For my starter, which I was more than ready to relish because the place was so popular we couldn't get a table until 8.30pm, I had a smoked mackerel pate, gooseberry chutney, toast and butter. This was delicious.

It's one of my favourite English starters and it was the best I've had. The pate had lots of fish and cream all blended together and stuffed into little pots. The portions were huge and the chef was generous with the chutney.

My husband had a pear and blue cheese salad and a pork belly main course. For my main dish I picked the pappardelle pasta, slow roasted heirloom tomatoes, basil and pinenuts and Lincolnshire poacher cheese. If it's possible this tasted better than it sounds.

All the ingredients complimented each other – it was simply one of those meals where the disappointment of eating the last mouthful and finding nothing left to savour almost outweighed the real pleasure of eating it.

To finish I chose the lighter option of milk chocolate mousse, raspberry puree and honeycombe.

This was a perfect end to a brilliant evening.

Total cost of the meal for two starters, two main courses and two desserts, excluding drinks, came to £51:90.