IT'S been a few years since I visited the Gladstone Arms in Chippenham, but I've been hearing good things about the menu of late.

Long ago, I recall it was known as the Borough Arms, before a big revamp, redecoration and a new life as a venue for dining. Many Chippenham eateries have come and gone over recent years, but the Gladstone is evidently still prospering.

Inside, the town centre pub has a fresh, airy ambience and a selection of pleasant watercolours of local scenes on the wall.

The long dining room is quiet when we arrive for lunch, but we are immediately made welcome, invited to a table and furnished with water to drink while we consider the menu.

I make my now habitual slightly-apologetic request for vegan options, and our host happily points out dishes that don't contain any animal ingredients.

Options for starters on the lunch menu include spicy crab cakes with mango puree (£7), Gladstone Scotch egg with Piccalilli (£6.50) and Moroccan vegetable salad with turmeric tempura feta.

While we are curious about what makes the Gladstone variety of Scotch egg different from the regular variety, my husband chooses the Moroccan vegetable salad for a starter.

It looks a treat - beautifully presented with a flourish of fresh herbs - and a perfect appetiser.

The lunchtime main course menu offers a dozen pub classics such as beer battered haddock, chips and peas (£12), rump steak, mushrooms and chips (£12), and a Thai green curry with jasmine rice - either chicken or vegetarian (£11).

My partner has the chicken, leek and pancetta shortcrust pie, with mash, fine beans and gravy (£12) and I have the Thai green curry. Once again, the dishes are thoughtfully presented and an absolute pleasure to eat.

The vegetables are crisp and fresh, the pastry a pleasing gold, and the pie a dense wedge of savoury tastiness that proves rather more than my husband can eat.

The Jasmine rice is delicately fragrant, and the curry richly flavoured and just spicy enough for my taste.

The dessert menu is short on vegan options, but for the less fussy amongst us, five popular classics are lined up - such as sticky toffee pudding and custard, and treacle tart with clotted cream, all at £6.50.

My partner decides to try the Trio of Creme Brulee - three mini ramekins each with a creme brulee of a different flavour, with a perfectly cooked crispy sugar lid and rich, melting interior.

It's an interesting place to eat: while the menu offers familiar pub meals, the quality of the ingredients and the excellent preparation puts the dining at the Gladstone Arms far above your traditional pub grub. The evening menu adds some extra dishes to the lunch menu, and on Sundays, look out for a variety of tempting looking roast dinners.

And not only is it good value (the bill for the meal for two, with soft drinks, comes to £38), the warm welcome, and the friendly, attentive staff make this a dining experience we will certainly repeat. If you are out and about in Chippenham, it's definitely a destination to try.