AS the last remaining coaching inn in a village that served the Chester-Holyhead stagecoach route, The Boot is probably the oldest pub in Northop, with maps suggesting it pre-dates 1717. Behind the pub is the Northop Brook, which retains its original ford with a stone-slabbed pedestrian crossing - the story goes the brook made the pub a popular stop for coachmen, who could let their horses cool down with a drink, while they did similar in the pub.

While we didn't have a horse, we were looking for something similar when we pulled into The Boot after an afternoon taking in the local flora and fauna at an event at nearby Glyndwr University's Northop campus.

Arriving quite late on a Sunday, there was some initial concerns we might not be able to dine in the pub's spacious eating area, but a quick word with the kitchen brought some assurances from our lovely waitress and thank goodness they could, as we proceeded to be served one of the best pub lunches we've ever had.

For starters we all tucked into delicious halloumi sticks in a crispy crumb, served with a sweet chilli dip. The crispy coating and sweet chilli were well matched and in fact they were so good, we ordered a second portion.

With a four-year-old and a six-year-old in tow, we were told they could order smaller Sunday roasts from the menu and when they arrived we thought there had been a mistake: slabs of beef and a huge Yorkshire pudding dominated their plates, making us believe my adult portion had been brought out in error.

In fact, when my dish came out of the kitchen soon after, it was a sight to behold, with juicy pieces of ham, served with all the trimmings, roast and mashed potato, Yorkshire puddings, seasonal vegetables and a rich gravy. Even better was a side dish full of cauliflower cheese which came with a thick, comforting white sauce that was simply delicious.

Cauliflower became a little bit of a theme for the day, with the vegetable also making an appearance in my wife's Cambodian street curry, which arrived as a Thai-style curry with lemongrass, kaffir lime and coconut and served with cauliflower and parsley rice and a tomato, rocket and onion salad. The better-half was in raptures, praising the very fresh vegetables which still had some "bite" and a "great spice blend". So good was it she asked the kitchen if she could have the recipe.

For desert we were spoiled again for choice, with homemade crumble, brownie fudge cake and sticky toffee pudding all making welcome and tasty appearances.

To cap the afternoon we even got chatting unwittingly to the pub's owners, Jo and Andy, who made us even more welcome and told of us their ambition to put The Boot back on the map as a dining pub.

I would argue they already have.

The Boot Inn, High Street, Northop Tel: 01352 840462

Food 9/10

Service 8/10

Ambience 7/10

Wheelchair access yes

Children welcome yes