WEDNESDAY is market day. Hidden behind a line of stalls is ‘Ye oldest chymist shoppe in England’, which no longer dispenses medicine but does offer a fascinating range of ancient remedies and sweets from days of yore.

The café is up a steep, narrow staircase. Mind your head! Tables are set in two rooms with low ceilings. It could be painful for a tall person to work here.

A notice downstairs proclaimed the venue served “some of the finest food and drink in the district”. Our objective was to put this claim to the test.

Tables are quite close set and at 1.30pm we were not the only people having a late lunch. From our table we looked over the market, still doing a brisk trade.

The printed menu was complemented by an extensive specials board. Never before have we been faced with a choice of four soups – potato with apple; tomato and mixed beans; leek with potato, and mushroom, each priced at £3.

Ann selected the leek, apple and Wensleydale quiche (£4.75) as an alternative to one of bacon and Brie. It was nicely presented, but was no better than average.

For me the choice could have been the steak pie (£5.50), but the chicken and leek pie (£5.25) attracted me more. This came with new potatoes, cauliflower, carrots and broccoli. There is a tendency to undercook vegetables these days and here was no exception. Some pieces were decidedly hard and others rubbery.

I couldn’t fault the size of the portion and quality of the chicken, and concluded that I must have had all that remained of this item. It was erased from the specials board after my order was taken.

The assistant who kept appearing in our section of the café was slow to remove dirty plates and determined that we would not have a sweet.

Eventually, Ann caught her attention and was directed to the display cabinet beside the till, but where was the till?

A shared slice of coffee and walnut cake (£2.75) augmented by a bowl of freshly whipped cream was a tasty conclusion to our lunch. Coffee is priced from £1.40 and a pot of tea for two was £2.70.

A visit many years ago revealed that lavender was a flavour appearing in many sweet items. It was absent from the lunch menu but we did see lavender scones being served at another table.

Was the food the finest in the district? That would depend on the size of the district.