ONE of the reasons for my unashamed affection of food is its diversity.

It has the ability to seamlessly translate into different cultures, igniting intrigue and opening the mind to new worlds of flavour.

Hence my excitement at the fact I can walk into a Cumbrian pub and choose from plates of Spanish, Asian and modern British-inspired food.

It may sound like a confused casserole for a countryside hostelry, but it isn’t – it works because it’s done well.

When The Plough at Lupton opened in June I thought it deserved applause. For not only had the abandoned pub alongside the A65 been nurtured back to life but the new owners had dared to be different with the menu.

The menu has two sides to it – small things and grills. The first is a selection of starter-size delicacies that draw upon influences of Spanish tapas and the Asian style of Yum Cha, the second is a choice of main courses such as grilled Barnsley chop with dauphinoise potatoes and apple and mint jelly (£12.95).

It didn’t take us long to concur that four plates of food were better than one, so we selected the ‘small things’ (£1.95-£4.50 each) and began with a delicious Indian flatbread, speckled with peppers and served with a zingy lime pickle.

I tucked into soft salmon and prawn dumplings, their delicate seafood filling given a satisfyingly salty kick from a soy and black rice vinegar dipping sauce.

Thick slices of pork belly with szechuan pepper came with a nutty, creamy sesame paste and Isle of Man queenie scallops grilled with Gruyere were deemed delicious by my friend, who also praised highly the chicken skewers with peanut and chilli and a rich dish of potato dauphinoise.

However, The Plough has sensibly not played around with its puddings. The decadent dark chocolate fondue with home-made mini doughnuts, apricot macaroons, orange turkish delight and summer fruits was devoured in a wave of pleasure.

Together with a wine list, compiled by the offerings of two eye-catching wine caves, The Plough is successfully paving the way for a different approach to food.