With its prominent central gable and some nods towards typical Cheshire black-and-white half-timbering, this stylish 19th-century gastro-inn has clearly had a lot of money spent on it. Acres – well it seems like acres – of reclaimed antique oak flooring, leather sofas surrounding a huge open fireplace, bookshelves offering plenty of choice for a good read, and more than 200 pictures and archive photos lining the oak-panelled walls. The bar, in which stands a carved wooden bear with a salmon in its mouth, offers a half dozen cask ales from local microbreweries, including the somewhat appropriate Beartown in Congleton, Weetwood in Tarporley, and Tatton in Knutsford, as well as Hereford Dry Cider. Whether you’re sitting out front looking across to the churchyard or in the clubby interior, there’s plenty of comfortable dining space in which to sample wholesome, locally sourced food from wide-ranging daily menus that expertly blend the classic with the modern. Take, for example, starters like goats’ cheese crotin, baked balsamic fig and beetroot three ways; or braised venison hash cake with mulled pear purée, pan fried hen’s egg and crispy pancetta; and main dishes such as pork, apple and cider pie with hand-cut chips and garden peas; cumin-roasted rump of lamb with harissa-spiced couscous, cucumber and mint yogurt and confit tomato; or pan-seared calves’ liver with a crispy haggis fritter, roasted root vegetables, and creamed potato, finished with sultana and sherry jus. Great for sharing are the imaginative deli boards, which come laden with local cheeses, charcuterie or pickled and smoked fish, and don’t miss the Sunday roast lunches.