Originally a Victorian steelworkers’ drinking den, this enterprising set-up has improved by leaps and bounds since re-launching as a suburban gastropub – it even boasts a cookery school and outside catering service. Boozy virtues, real ales and relaxed vibes come with the territory, but the kitchen clearly has high aspirations – witness the home-baked breads, chutneys and ‘garden to glass’ aperitifs on display. Carefully sourced ingredients form the backbone of a repertoire that might run from chicken thigh with foraged garlic, asparagus and anchovies to slow-cooked shin of beef with lentils, horseradish and mustard or pan-fried pollack with new potatoes and samphire. To finish, try ‘variations on chocolate’ with a shot of sparkling saké or a combo of carrots and coffee accompanied by an espresso martini. Definitely worth a detour off the M1.