FIRST impressions count and my wife, Heather, and I were made welcome from the moment we stepped into the Fenwick Country Pub and Kitchen.

Within minutes my thirst was being slaked by a well-kept pint of Black Sheep bitter as we perused the menu.

How busy a restaurant is can be a barometer of the standard of fare being served up – and apart from one table, the dining room was full.

Declining the offer of ‘tasty nibbles’ from the menu, we set about choosing our starter.

Between us we found it tough to decide on what to pick but the problem was solved when Heather suggested we plump for the Bowland Food Lovers Board (to share) which had a bit of everything from the list of starters.

The black pudding was a little dry and I’d have enjoyed more than just a half of the spring roll. The Bowland ham hock and the Lancashire cheese were very tasty accompanied by pickles and smothered in chutney while the Morecambe Bay potted shrimps were notable by their absence.

There were 13 main course dishes to choose from and four from the grill.

I went for the slowly cooked shank of Lune Valley lamb, served on a bed of mashed potato and thyme infused winter vegetables (carrots) in a Merlot and redcurrant jus.

It was the most expensive main course at £13.95.

The lamb was extremely tender, it simply fell off the bone and I savoured every mouthful while Heather made light work of an appetising Fisherman’s Pie containing chunks of Haddock and Greenland prawns lightly poached in white wine.

I had little room left for a sweet but Heather delighted in demolishing a Madagascan Vanilla Creme Brulee served with shortbread biscuits, it was delicious.

The Fenwick’s philosophy is to offer great attentive service, locally sourced and imaginatively cooked food with traditional ales and world class wines in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

It certainly achieved that when we were there.