Speak to somebody of a certain generation about the Dinorben Arms and it will evoke very special memories.
The pub, which is believed to date back several centuries, was the place to be during the 1980s and 1990s.
Their offerings of chicken in a basket and the smorgasbord-style buffets were legendary, and people would come from far and wide to enjoy them.
But despite this success, the pub went downhill over the years, before it eventually closed its doors in 2007.
It lay derelict for eight years, before the Brunning and Price group – of Glasfryn, in Mold, fame – decided to take it over and pump £2million into its renovation.
The opening caused a fair bit of excitement within the region, and I felt it only right to head along and see what the fuss was all about.
Having not been alive for much of the pub’s glory years, I have no memory on which to base how the pub used to be, but on arriving at the restaurant it was clear a lot of money had been spent.
We arrived at their strangely steep car park before entering in through a large stone tower – more akin to a Scottish country home than a pub – through a hotel-like entrance hall and into the main bar area.
After being served our drinks at the bar, we were taken to a smaller side area away from the open-plan set up of the bar.
This smaller area formed part of the original pub building, retained after the new owners demolished several of the annexes and extensions that had been added.
It felt cosy and traditional, with the walls covered in portraits and pictures, as well as other relics from the pub’s historic past.
The menu offered a wide variety of tasty sounding dishes, while they retained the heritage of the pub by including chicken and chips in a basket, as well as smorgasbord to share.
I decided it would be rude not to try out the chicken in a basket.
While I am sure some will argue the dish does not exactly resemble the full-fat version of the past, I was very happy with my choice.
It isn’t hard to go too wrong with chicken and chips, but the dish was cooked well and was a great treat for a weekday evening.
I do not usually opt for dessert, but threw caution to the wind and ordered a sticky toffee pudding, and a glass of the dessert wine.
My choice was an excellent one.
The pudding, served with toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream, was sensational, and proved to the be the perfect ending to the meal.
The Dinorben Arms of old is one that holds a special place for many people within the area, however I feel sure that the new restaurant will prove to become a firm favourite once again for those living in the region.
Food quality: 9/10
Children welcome: yes
Disabled access: yes
See full story in the Chester Leader