A RELAXED atmosphere permeated Wasabi Pan Asian, a new small to mid-size dining option located just a stone's throw from Ulverston's Coronation Hall and Roxy theatres.

Customers were dressed casually but tidily. A mixture of families and couples seated at tables of two or four created a buzz of conversation which superseded the subdued music.

Despite visiting on Friday night on opening week, the restaurant was not packed to the rafters. Around ten tables were set up on the night, with at least one - but periodically two or three - remaining empty throughout our meal.

As we were seated the waitress gently suggested that two 'small plates' each would be about right, to which we initially complied, before ordering more further into our meal.

In the first order of business, the drinks arrived promptly - a Tsingtao beer was followed minutes later by a rather aesthetic cherry cream soda cocktail, which was later re-ordered. The first of these cocktails tasted overwhelmingly of cherry; the second of vodka. Despite the inconsistency, both were well received.

The Westmorland Gazette: Cherry cream soda cocktailCherry cream soda cocktail

As is common in this type of restaurant, the food will come ad hoc - meaning members of the party might be eating at different times.

Chicken gyoza was the first to arrive around 25 minutes after being seated. These were accompanied by a soy and honey dipping sauce and various greens - chillies, coriander.

As if by magic, these were immediately followed by the Korean BBQ belly pork bao buns.

Both went down a treat. The sticky pork added much-needed texture to the delicately soft buns.

This was, however, followed by a 21 minute wait between dishes three and four - stretching the limit of 'the food will come as it is ready' and perhaps not one to risk before a visit to Ulverston's Roxy or Coro venues.

If time is not of the essence, however, the chicken satay skewers were delicious. The chicken was moist through to the centre and the coating was (pea)nuts.

The Westmorland Gazette: BBQ belly pork bao bunsBBQ belly pork bao buns

These were followed promptly by the disappointment of the night - the 'loaded dragon fries' - the name of which could deceive you into believing these are more than attractively garnished, under-seasoned chips with a pot of bland gravy on the side. For £5 (according to the menu) or £6 (according to the bill) you could reasonably expect more from this dish.

Still a little peckish and not wanting to end on the fries, we ordered crab, avocado and teriyaki sushi and a mango and vanilla pannacotta.

The Westmorland Gazette: The disappointing loaded dragon friesThe disappointing loaded dragon fries

I was served a pleasant surprise when the sushi arrived with five pieces, rather than the four listed on the menu, though the crab and avocado struggled to overpower the already mild rice.

The pannacotta was light, fruity and beautifully presented.

The Westmorland Gazette: The beautifully presented panna cottaThe beautifully presented panna cotta

Overall, the bill came just short of £70. For four drinks - including two cocktails, and six plates of food, this came in under my estimations and felt very fair.

The slight discrepancy in the price of the fries was balanced by an undercharging of the sushi - at £6.95 rather than the stated £7.95, so we chose not to question it.

A fantastic pre-show choice and great addition to Ulverston's growing and already impressive foodie scene.