IT'S never too much of a hardship to drive into the beautiful countryside around Avebury in the hope of stumbling across a pleasing looking pub.

Even more so when it has a spare table for dinner. The Winterbourne is in the small village of Winterbourne Bassett, between Avebury and Swindon.

It turned into a community-run freehouse back in 2018, and has now introduced a coffee shop area to the front in the conservatory extension.

We were met by some cheery staff and the place was pretty full for a Wednesday night. there were a mixture of people in there.

Horsey types, country sorts, some family bubbles and a few blokes wearing lycra, who perhaps shouldn't really wear lyrca in public. They had probably cycled there and had snuck in for a cheeky pint. Unless they just like wearing lycra.

The menu is simple but varied enough to be more interesting than the standard pub fayre.

It has things like smoked duck salad and beetroot and vodka cured salmon - signs of a decent chef already.

But we decided, in a rare moment of puritanical reserve, not to have a starter. Nothing, reader, to do with ordering an elegant sufficiency, but more to accommodate the sheer joy that is jam rolypoly for pudding.

I'll get to that in a minute, but it usually has me racing through the earlier courses in eager anticipation of hoofing down a bowl of stodgy, sticky, sweet manna from heaven.

Just to wet the whistle, we ordered a couple of large glasses of Marques Del Atrio Rioja - from a pretty decent wine choice, and then went for a lamb burger with fries (£12) and smoked salmon linguine. (£13).

Both very reasonably priced, and the food was super nice. The lamb burger was big and juicy and arrived in a cardboard takeaway box buoyed by a substantial amount of proper chips. I didn't have that, but my guest's drools, crossed eyes, chin dribbles and complete lack of conversation seemed to suggest it went down well.

My salmon linguine was great. It was in a light cream sauce, tossed with spinach and tomatoes and was both fresh tasting and satisfying without the clagginess of a heavy sauce.

A chef with a delicate touch, I thought, and again, not what you would expect from a community pub in a small rural village. And, more importantly, I felt I had enough room for the pudding of dreams. Home made jam rolypoly and custard.

We actually had to toss a coin for who got this pudding, as we felt duty bound to have two different puddings. I might say the passion fruit panna cotta was full of all the bouncy, zingy creaminess of a great panna cotta, but let's face it, that is like putting Swindon Town FC against the mighty Liverpool in terms of pudding performance. Needless to say it was delightful. The rolypoly caused a spoon fight. 'Nuff said. Our meal came to £54.50. NIKI HINMAN