BRINGING a touch of the Mediterranean to Lancaster, the Gate House at White Cross, serves up a combination of both a relaxed atmosphere and unusual yet tasty meal.

Half hidden along the canal towpath yet close to the city centre the restaurant is a great place to stop during an evening stroll – if you are luckily enough to stumble across it.

The restaurant is a real local gem that no-one would know about unless told.

Inside the decor has been carefully planned to fit in with its European theme, from French art on the walls to vine leaves crawling along the ceiling to conjure up visions of Italy.

Our waiter was as cool as a cat, slipping in and out of the room, appearing up from unexpected angles and always ready to help.

After a cold Peroni beer in the bar, we were taken to our canalside table, where fresh bread, wooden placing and lit candle awaited us.

My partner and I both opted for the apple salad starter which had a selection of cheeses.

The salad was good but could have done with a little more dressing as in between the cheese it was quite flavourless.

However, the main course was a real treat. I ordered a mushroom pithivier which was a puff pastry filled with mushrooms, chestnuts and ricotta served with a hash brown and a mixture of vegetable.

My first reaction when I saw a hash brown on the menu was that it was a strange thing to have with a main meal but it was gorgeous – and nothing like what you get with a breakfast-but rather a large seasoned potato fried around the exterior and served in a circle.

My eating partner decided on the roast rump of lamb with a light pink peppercorn sauce also served with the mysteriously tasty hash brown and vegetables.

He reported that the meat was very good and though the sauce was not the normal peppercorn taste he expected, it was all the better for that fact.

Being lovers of cheese we decided to share a cheese board to finish off what was already a filling meal.

We picked the Garstang Blue and the Black Sticks Blue – and what a good choice it proved.