GOOD country pubs make great places to meet friends when both of you have to travel, so after a little bit of Googling and checking menus, one of us being a vegan diner, we settled on The Salutation Inn at The Gibb, close to Castle Combe.

I've driven past this pretty Cotswold stone pub many times, but if memory serves me right the last time we ate here was very late one night on the way back from Badminton horse trials, when we were really too tired to appreciate the food.

Although it was a sunny day the wind was a bit too brisk to sit in the gardens, so we settled for a table in the restaurant side of the pub, which has open beams and lots of lovely stonework. There is a rather cosy seating area the other side of the bar too.

Having got drinks from the bar we perused the menu and soon placed our orders.

I love mussels, and these came served in a traditional cream, white wine and garlic sauce, and seemed very reasonably priced at £12 for a main portion.

When it arrived what a portion it was, a large bowl absolutely chock full of some of the largest mussels I've come across for a while. They were all beautifully cooked, so tender they came off the shell with just a spoon and with not an unopened shell in sight, and I really enjoyed them.

The only thing I would have liked was more bread, and perhaps something that soaked up the juice a little more. The two rather small slices were good bread, but not the right sort for dunking.

My friend said her burger, £10, which combined a spiced lentil and chickpea patty with sweet mustard mayo, and fries on the side, was spicy enough to be tasty without blowing the roof off her mouth, and also quite succulent - apparently sometimes veggie burgers tend to be on the dry side. If you're a veggie you could top it off with a slice of halloumi.

On to pudding, and here at first vegan selections seemed to be in short supply, with dairy featuring in most choices. However the ice cream was marked as vegan, and the helpful waitress said it would be no trouble at all to add a serving of strawberries to make it into a more substantial dessert - and we couldn't see any sign that he charged extra for them, either.

I was tempted by the sight of sticky toffee pudding, but felt it a bit stodgy for summer - and went for the peach rum baba with marscapone, £7.

Rum Baba's a bit of a blast from the past, but this modern take on it was lovely. The ring of light sponge was absolutely soaked in delicious peach and rum syrup, while the fresh poached peach topping was just what it needed.

We hadn't finished chatting, so added two coffees to our meal and finally left, having had a lovely catch-up. The final bill came to £42.80, which we felt was very fair.

the Sunday lunches here win high praise on TripAdvisor, so I will add it to my list of places to return to

Alison Phillips

The Salutation Inn

The Gibb

Castle Combe, Chippenham SN14 7LH

Phone: 01249 782083

Food served: Mon-Fri midday-2:30pm, 5:30pm-9pm; Sat/Sun mid-day-9pm

Decor: 8/10

Service: 8/10

Food: 8/10

TripAdvisor rating: 4.5