NORMALLY the sight of a DJ setting up his equipment is enough to make me turn round and seek somewhere else for a meal out.

But the festive spirit prevailed and so we settled into our at our table only to be swamped by the amount of choices on offer.

The main menu is extensive.

Then add a daily specials menu and, given the time of year, a special Christmas menu and the task of choosing what to eat becomes a major exercise.

Malthouse Farm offers a relaxed, rustic atmosphere and the staff are friendly without being overbearing.

After much deliberation I opted for a starter of stilton and peppercorn mushrooms at £3.95 with the better half choosing sweet chilli prawns (£4.95).

For mains I had to go for the Scottish venison and Merlot pie (£9.95) with the better half selecting roasted belly pork (£10.95).

I have to say that the mushroom dish was a disaster. The menu promised a drizzle of Stilton and peppercorn sauce over flat mushrooms and toasted garlic bread.

What I got was a mass of gravy-like liquid which turned the bread into a soggy mess and was so strongly flavoured with peppercorns that it swamped everything else.

It might be a fine sauce for rump steak but never for mushrooms.

In most establishments such a poor starter would ruin the evening but it is to the Malthouse Farm’s credit that it actually registered as a mere blip on a very enjoyable evening.

The chilli prawns in tempura batter were pronounced delicious and the mains were right up there with the quality we’ve come to expect.

My venison pie came in suet crust pastry with mash, veg and a jug of wonderfully flavoursome red wine sauce.

The belly pork was a whopping piece of meat which was extremely tender and tasty and came with crackling and red cabbage.

After a breather we ordered the cheeseboard to share which at £9.95 for four different cheeses, grapes, biscuits and apple was the perfect way to round things off.