Roast dinner at the St Vincent Arms, in Sutton-On-Derwent, has a big reputation to live up to, but Nadia Jefferson-Brown discovers it more than passes the test.

The St Vincent Arms in Sutton-On-Derwent had a lot to live up to when we called in for Sunday lunch.

"It's really nice there," was the usual response whenever I told people where we were headed.

"Have you booked?" was another.

So when our one-year-old son Miles fell asleep just before we arrived, I had visions of other hungry diners circling our reserved table while he snoozed.

My husband Gary went in first, armed with our portable child's seat, which straps on to any dining chair. I'd been told the pub's two high-chairs had already been reserved when I booked our table, so it's worth checking if you have young children.

When I entered with sleepy-eyed Miles, Gary was supping a pint of Timothy Taylor Golden Best at a table in a bay window, warming himself near a welcoming coal-effect gas fire.

I ordered a glass of Shiraz Cabernet Sandford which tasted of blackberries.

The St Vincent Arms is a traditional, cosy, country pub with dark tartan carpet, cream walls and black beams with few modern-day adornments. It is almost warren-like, with several rooms to explore as well as a bar area.

It was our first real Sunday lunch outing with Miles since he'd started eating "real food". I was determined to brave it and find something suitable for him on the menu. But at the last minute I threw a bagel into my bag just in case he suddenly turned into a fussy eater.

I needn't have worried. The staff were very friendly and accommodating.

The menu did not offer children's portions but the waitress brought some warm, crusty granary bread for Miles while we ate our starters just in case he thought he was missing out.

Gary finished off the bread to soak up the creamy white sauce which accompanied his moules mariniere (£6.50) from the specials menu which he said were meaty and tasty.

I chose Thai chicken cakes (£6) which came as a pair and were solid, packed with meat and coriander, giving the dish a fresh flavour, while the outer coating was crunchy and crispy. The cakes had a very mild kick, but the accompanying sweet chilli sauce packed more of a punch.

Staying with the specials, I chose the roast sirloin of beef while Gary had the roast leg of lamb (both £9.95).

Other specials included roast pork (£9.50), ragout of lamb (£10.50), chicken curry (£8.50) and fillet of wild sea bass with chorizo and cous cous (£16).

The food came on large oval plates, with the meat taking centre stage, alongside a pile of roast potatoes nestling beside two giant Yorkshire puddings.

The beef was beautifully cooked and succulent. The leg of lamb did not come on the bone as anticipated but there were no complaints from Gary who said it was delicious and tender. The roast potatoes were a bit sodden looking, as if they'd been in the roasting pan too long. But despite failing the crispiness test, they were fluffy, full of flavour and in plentiful supply. The vegetables came in side dishes and each offered its own distinct taste and texture.

The mashed swede was very buttery and smooth - a particular winner with Miles. The cabbage was finely shredded and tossed with small strips of smoked bacon, while the cauliflower cheese was just right.

Faced with such a varied selection of vegetables, I was surprised to overhear another diner complain about the lack of peas and carrots. There's just no pleasing some people.

There was plenty to go round, and Miles smacked his lips as he enjoyed his own mini, mashed-up version of our meals.

Dishes from the normal menu included a selection of sandwiches served with a salad garnish and chips and hot ciabatta such as chicken, chorizo and chilli jam with chips and salad.

Appetisers and lights bites included lightly curried Cornish crab mayonnaise on a tomato sauce (£6.50) and baked mushroom with goat's cheese and a pesto dressing (£5.80). There were also salads (£8 to £9.50) from chicken Caesar salad to home roasted beef.

Main courses included homemade lasagne (£8.50), 10oz sirloin steak and trimmings (£14), and haddock and chips with mushy peas (£9).

We had a break between courses to make way for dessert, before I tucked into a decent-sized slice of homemade Normandy tart which had a strong almond taste, and mouth-watering vanilla ice cream (£4.50), followed by coffee any barista would be proud of.

Gary went for the cheese board which offered a good selection of five cheeses ranging from mild and creamy to the mature, mouth-tingling variety, served with a tangy Victorian chutney, celery and crackers (£5.50).

With drinks, our bill was just over £50, which we thought was worth it for the quality of what we'd had.

After such an enjoyable meal, we left with rounded tummies and felt very relaxed. But Miles was the only one who could get a snooze on the drive back to York.

Fact file

Food: quality

Service: thoughtful

Value: good

Ambience: relaxed

Disabled loos: No

Restaurant reviewers aim to be fair and accurate. Any comments on this review should be addressed to Bill Hearld, The Press, 76-86 Walmgate, York, YO1 9YN or email