HOW quickly landmarks come round. This, the 600th survey, is of a venue we haven’t visited for almost ten years. In its current role, the building still retains much of its charm as a former saddlery.

Downstairs customers are invited to order at the bar. Upstairs, where we went, there is table service. There were only two other customers when we arrived and only six more joined us in an area that can seat more than 60. We hope that this is not indicative of York’s tourist trade this year.

We were given three menus. Disregarding the one offering a comprehensive choice with main courses priced up to £12, we considered the two-course lunch at £12.50 and the express, fixed-price, fast-service lunch at £6.90.

The two-course meal provided starters of soup, asparagus and polenta with Parmesan and herb butter; a trio of Yorkshire smoked fish or venison carpaccio; all of which we should have been happy to sample.

The main course was a choice of Moroccan vegetable tagine; smoked haddock with poached egg; duck confit or herb crusted slow-cookedlamb.

These too would have been very acceptable. This lunch menu can also be taken as an early dinner before 7pm.

Conscious of our budget, we restricted our selection to the express lunch. choosing from six possible dishes, each to be served with homemade chips.

Falafel, hummus with Piquillo pepper and meatballs with tomato sauce with penne pasta did not immediately gain our attention.

Should we try the smoked salmon and cream cheese with prawns or dry-cured bacon and Swaledale cheese on toast? Perhaps not.

This left beef and Yorkshire pudding with horse radish dressing and watercress for Ann and the goats cheese savoury tart with tomato and pepper salad for me.

Usually when sampling sandwiches and cakes we halve the choices so there are two sets of taste buds to form an opinion. Not often do we share a hot meal but this was the exception.

The savoury tart was good although we agreed it took second place to the rare beef and large Yorkshire pudding which was excellent. With the aid of a spoon, all the delicious gravy disappeared. As for the chips, could they be bettered? We doubt it.

Brunch with a vegetarian variety is available up to 12.30pm.

Later in the day you might like to try the tapas and mezze priced £4 to £5.

Scones (£1.90) or with tea (£3.40) and coffee from £1.50 upwards could allay hunger at any time.

On Sundays there is a roast lunch for £10.

Did we get value for money? We thought so. Was it an express lunch? Definitely. Would we go back to this venue? Most definitely.