Lambtom Restaurant, The Bear Hotel, Market Place, Devizes.

SN10 1HS.

(01380) 722444

The last time I went to The Bear Hotel in Devizes for an eating out review I was served sliced white packet bread with the meal.

So I knew there had been an improvement the minute the waiter arrived with a basket of appetising rolls in a variety of shapes and grains.

To be fair, an awful lot has changed at The Bear in recent times.

Estate agent Gordon Straker, who took over the flagship hostelry a year or so ago, knew he had a winner in the shape of Paul Ashworth, who is now a wonderful maitre d’hotel, exuding calm even when the going gets tough.

Mr Straker did one-to-one interviews with all the existing staff when he took over the Bear and also took the wise decision of moving some of the more attractive chambermaids to waitressing duties so their charms could be enjoyed front of house. I was part of a group of six friends making the most of the hotel’s half price May offer which meant diners only paid 50 per cent of their entire bill, including drink as well as food.

By the end of the evening we all agreed that we would be happy to return and pay full price for the well-cooked seasonal food and excellent service.

The Lambton Restaurant is an elegant room, maybe somewhat overdressed for those who want a contemporary feel, but oozing grandeur.

The menu uses plenty of locally sourced products and is reassuringly short, meaning all dishes are freshly cooked.

I started with a light squid dish served with a tasty salad, which was a great start to the meal, but my herb crusted Wiltshire lamb with sweet potato mash and a Madeira jus was divine.

A couple of people in our party went for the honey glazed Gressingham duck breast which came with champ potato, shallots and a port jus and they were equally complimentary about their choice.

We finished with a shared platter of ripe cheese which was impressively extensive. Starters range in price from around £5 to £8 while main courses are from £14 to £18.

Open 7pm (7.30pm on Saturdays) to 9.45pm Monday to Saturday and Sundays for lunch

Good wheelchair access

On-street parking nearby

Booking advisable

Our Eating Out is an independent review carried out by the Times without prior knowledge of the owners.