IT DOESN’T pay to look back, but the day we introduced our family to Little Chefs and enjoyed a meal for six with change from £3 is long past.

When we read that our local branch had been refurbished and acquired a new menu, we were keen to investigate.

Well used to tea/coffee with a toasted teacake or pastry, we were interested to see what the menu revamped by TV chef Heston Blumenthal had in store for us.

A glance at the menu suggested we would be hard pressed to select a reasonably priced snack. The early starter and all-day breakfast were still available, but where were the toasted teacakes?

Specials were chalked up on wall boards. Lamb shank (£9.75), vegetable pie with fries and salad (£7.50), Scottish mussels and fries (£7.20) and belly pork with salad (£6.95) were examples. We decided to go for a starter and sweet each. Ann chose scampi (£4.95). This provided six pieces, leaves, mayo in a separate dish and a section of lemon contained in a little net bag. This novel approach and the quality of the food was appreciated.

For me it would be mushroom soup (£3.95). This was hot, tasty and contained plenty of mushrooms. The accompanying roll was an unusual shape and warm.

From the selection of sweets, we chose a waffle with soft ice cream for Ann and a pancake for me (both £3.95). The waffle came with a small jug of maple syrup and the ice cream in a separate dish. Ann was defeated and I was delighted to be offered some of this excellent sweet.

My pancake was better than any I could remember having in a Little Chef. However, as the dish of ice cream was standing on a hot plate it turned to liquid very quickly. Tea (£1.99) and cappuccino (£2.45) were available along with muffins and Dundee cake.

Yes, the menu was quite different but we couldn’t help wondering what coast-bound holiday makers would make of the changes. The cost of lunch for a family didn’t bear thinking about.