IT was with some trepidation that we arrived at The Castle Inn at Lulworth for Sunday lunch last weekend. This traditional 16th century thatched pub has just undergone a major refurbishment and although it did need a revamp, there’s always a fear it might have become one of those rather soulless, Identikit-style eateries.

But rest assured, for although the place has changed almost beyond recognition, it certainly hasn’t lost any of its character or charm. It’s now country chic offering a daily-changing menu with grill and seafood as its centrepiece showcasing Dorset produce sourced from within 30 miles of the restaurant.

(Head chef Ashley Walcott, previously worked at the celebrated Fat Duck under Heston Blumenthal).

We were given a warm welcome and shown to a high wooden table in an alcove overlooking the beer garden at the front.

There’s a choice of salads and burgers including options such as a halloumi burger in a brioche bun with garlic mayonnaise and sweet potato fries (£13.50), flatbread pizzas with exotic toppings like Dorset blue vinney, pear, walnuts and spinach (£12).

For starters I had a generous slice of Camembert, peach and thyme quiche (£7.50), served at room temperature, drizzled with Dorset apple syrup, which might sound an unlikely combination but it works as a summer starter and included a dressed mixed side salad.

My companion’s strips of deep fried calamari (£8.50) were coated in a light crispy batter, not too thick, in a sweet chilli sauce with enough heat to make your eyes water and a smattering of spring onions, lime, chilli and coriander.

You can’t beat a hearty roast so we both homed in on The Great British Sunday Roast section with a choice of Ruby Red Devon strip of beef loin or braised lamb shoulder for £15.

I ordered the Castlemead Farm chicken breast at £14.50 while my companion chose the lamb. Each dish included a huge Yorkshire puddings which took up half the dinner plate. The chicken was succulent and full of flavour, served on the bone with al dente carrots, cabbage, a portion of cauliflower cheese and three roast potatoes. It also came with an extra jug of gravy and mint sauce for the lamb.

For dessert we shared a scoop of chocolate Purbeck ice cream (£2) and what looked like a deconstructed pavlova with strawberries and cream in a strawberry sauce, crushed meringue and honeycomb topped with mint and sprinkled with basil infused sugar (£6.50) which was just the right balance of flavours and textures.

Afterwards we had a stroll around the surprisingly large back beer garden which we didn’t know had existed before. Now it has been cleared out and the new enthusiastic manager David Putt has lots of plans in the pipeline to make the most of this area including an outdoor gin bar so watch this space!