I've driven past the Cross Keys in Sychdyn more times than I could ever count, almost daily at one point, for almost 20 years. But I'd never ventured in.

Truth be told, it hadn't ever even been on my radar as somewhere to eat. But that all changed a few weeks back, when at short notice on a Saturday night, my partner and I tried to find a table for two in Flintshire. This proved impossible, which in itself spoke volumes about the quality of eateries on offer in the county. One of the establishments we called was the Cross Keys. Between having had a quick look online at their menu and finding it full, we vowed to try again some time. With a booking.

All booked in for what turned out to be a gorgeous sunny Saturday night, and after a heavy day's retail therapy, we were looking forward to trying somewhere new.

It's not a big place and once inside it's actually a bit quirky, especially in layout, which they seem very flexible with, and making the most of it. There's no one big space, instead a few smaller areas, with our own table tucked away. It was cute and pretty private, nice for us, given it was also quite full.

The decor isn't fancy but it's homely in a way that almost makes you feel you're at someone's house for dinner, and that's absolutely no bad thing.

But don't let that fool you into thinking the menu is just a few simple dishes. The star of the show here is definitely the food.

There is a good selection of mains, with separate 'from the grill' and burger sections, plus a good choice of sides.

To start I chose breaded brie bites (love me some cheese) with a warm beetroot and walnut salad, and my other half went for the ever tempting and very current, halloumi fries with a harissa and yogurt dip.

Mine were oh so gooey, with each one oozing out as I cut into it, perfect for capturing the surrounding salad. Across from me was a huge portion of the cheesy fries, so it was only fair a few found their way to my plate, via the dip of course.

We were impressed already, it was great food and generous servings.

The mains were up. Homemade beef burger with bacon and cheese for him, and champ potatoes with greens, pan fried chicken and pink peppercorn sauce and black pudding for me. We also ordered a side of onion rings and a portion of blue cheese sauce (there's really no such thing as too much cheese).

The burger came with coleslaw and chunky chips, the kind that just scream 'eat me', and were perfect for dipping in the cheese sauce. As were the onion rings, which was a portion definitely big enough to share.

My chicken dish was great: a big, comforting portion of the champ, plenty of the sauce and beautiful, perfectly cooked greens made up of broccoli and asparagus. Winner, winner, chicken dinner indeed.

I'm not going to lie, we struggled to finish but clear our plates we did. Although on this occasion, we would not be looking at the dessert menu but it just gives us an excuse to return.

As our plates were cleared we expressed our pleasure in the food, which was greatly received, and we heard about how they seem to be pretty busy more often than not. It's lovely hearing the success stories of such places, and I'm certainly enjoying doing my bit to highlight them.

The Cross Keys, Black Brook, Sychdyn Tel: 01352 759 657

Food 9/10

Service 9/10

Ambience 7/10

Wheelchair access yes

Children welcome yes