WE’VE been going to The Old Bear ever since we’ve lived in Trowbridge, and it’s always been a friendly, welcoming pub.

It’s good to see that the current landlords, who are local, still make everyone welcome, whether you’re drinking or dining, smart or muddy from a local ramble.

They’ve also restored it to a more pub-like atmosphere, rather than a restaurant with a bar area, though the long rambling design of the building means it’s possible to sit and eat well away from the bar chat too.

We dropped in on a Friday night and were swiftly found a table, and started exploring the menu, as it’s a while since we’ve had a full meal here (though a bowl of chips and a glass or two of wine have made for several pleasant nights out).

Ample enough to have choice without being too bewildering, the menu features plenty of fresh produce, and fish is a speciality. The pub also does a two-for-one steak night in the week.

My husband having chosen his favourite garlic mushrooms starter, this time served in a creamy sauce on a slice of ciabatta (£6), I decided on the duck spring rolls with hoisin sauce (£7).

I quite fancied the pan fried king prawns, but as prawns also featured in my main dish decided against it, and it was too warm an evening to sample the home made soup.

Both starters came swiftly and were delicious, the creamy garlicky sauce overflowing the bread and the little spring rolls being accompanied by a salad with a light, slightly lemony, dressing.

On to the mains, and while the unadventurous man had chosen a burger (okay, it was the Old Bear Burger with bacon and cheese, onion rings, hand cut chips, salad and a side of coleslaw (£11), and he was offered a choice of cheeses, settling on Stilton), I decided on something a little more sophisticated and had lemon sole stuffed with spinach and prawns (£14).

The burger was clearly much more than your ordinary offering, with a juicy patty of thick beef in a bun, towering so high with all the fillings it had to be skewered together. You could not have even attempted to eat it by hand.

The size of the chips and onion rings portions almost defeated someone who is rarely over-faced at the dinner table.

The fish was delicious, light and perfectly cooked, with the fresh spinach stuffing barely wilted and the cream sauce adding to the tang. It came with new potatoes and vegetables, including lovely honey-cooked parsnip strips.

I decided I did have room for pudding and got two scoops of different flavours of Marshfield Farm ice cream; honeycomb and toffee fudge (£3.50).

It was a lovely meal, filling without leaving us over-stuffed, and including some touches which lifted it above the ordinary, served by friendly staff .

Our bill, with drinks (they serve Bath Gem here, for ale aficionados), came to £50.65

The Old Bear Inn
01225 782487

Parking: Large car park
Disabled access: Yes
Gazette ratings:
Food: 8/10
Choice: 8/10
Decor: 7/10
Customer service: 9/10
TripAdvisor rating: 4.5/5