Knapton feels off the beaten track, despite its close proximity to Acomb and the city of York.

At the heart of the village is The Red Lion, which is quite the picture postcard, English pub. A friend had recommended I try out the food as the pub had been recently taken over.

We had booked for 7.30pm and it was already fairly busy when we arrived, slightly ahead of schedule.

I thought there was a good amount of customers for a Wednesday night, considering the economic recession.

Inside there is an eclectic mix of new and old fittings, all done very tastefully; in keeping with the food it transpired (or should that be inn keeping?).

Chef proprietor Annie Prescott took over back in January. It’s a one woman show behind the scenes but Annie, who worked for four years as chef at Meltons, has just taken on a sous chef (also from Meltons). This will enable the business to function for seven days a week in the near future, where previously it was closed on Mondays.

It was a one woman show at the front of house too but the bar manager-cum-head waitress was doing a sterling job, I suspect she has two pairs of hands.

We ordered wine at the bar from a disappointingly small but reasonably priced list. Annie, the owner and cook, tells me she is working on improving the selection, which would be welcome as our Aussie red, a bottle of Berri Estates Shiraz 2008 (£12.95), was only just drinkable.

The menu has a good range of starters and some reliable pub favourites for main courses such as: homemade chicken kiev (£9.25), Yorkshire Pork sausages with onion gravy (£8.75), beer battered haddock and chips (£8.95), but it is the specials board that catches the eye, with plenty of seasonal, locally sourced fare on offer.

The Redhead started with Yorkshire asparagus with Hollandaise sauce (£5.50), which was very tender, flavoursome and tasted like it had just been picked. I netted a generous portion of crayfish tails, sautéed in garlic butter with warm bread (£4.95). The crayfish were served piping hot and were finger-licking good, but I would have rather had a bowl of salad as an accompaniment, instead of the warmed half-baguette.

Meanwhile Girls Aloud seemed to have taken up residence in the pub’s music system and were annoying The Redhead, who hates background music. We asked if it could be turned down a little but the bar manger/head waitress went one better and switched it off altogether – hurrah!

I was looking forward to my main course, chargrilled sirloin steak, with chips, green salad and (more) garlic butter (£15.95). It came medium rare as ordered, juicy, still sizzling and impossible to fault. It was served with proper chips too, ones that actually taste of potato!

The Redhead’s pan-fried fillet of salmon, with potato salad, rocket and pesto (£10.75) was a hit as well. She said the combination worked really well and the chunky fish fillet was tender and succulent.

I chose a seasonal dessert in English strawberries and vanilla ice-cream (£3.50), a simple dish maybe but it would be so easy to be disappointed if the quality wasn’t good. I’m glad to report both ingredients were of very high quality. The Redhead was intrigued to try Baileys Banoffee Mousse (£3.95) which slipped down easily but regretted not seeing the apple crumble and custard before she ordered, as this would have been her first choice.

The bill was just shy of £60, which we thought was very good value for the quality of food we had eaten. It would be possible to spend a lot less by sticking to just a main and wine by the glass.

We will definitely be returning, assuming Girls Aloud are not playing that night.

• The Red Lion, Main Street, Knapton, York YO26 6QG.

Telephone: 01904 793957.

• Mike visited on Wednesday, June 3, 2009.