This week, the every-hungry Pub Spy made a return to The Paul Pry in The Butts, with Sunday lunch very much on his mind.

Pub Spy has been hearing good reports about the pub, with mouth-watering accounts of roast meats and delectable vegetables. But would the reality live up to the hype?

As I am, perhaps, a solitary sort of figure, I was ushered into the panelled bar room, instead of the main dining room - not that I minded at all, because the bar area was a glimpse of yesteryear, where old-time festive music was playing and a faux gas fire was doing its level best to be an open coal fire. Before it lay a dog basket with toys - another hospitable sign; not that I was tempted to try it out, you understand? I was tempted, however, to order a half-pint of Grand Central IPA, which was amber in colour, sweet and ‘hoppy’ with after-taste of spice, at least to my palate. As a brew it was something a little different. and I would certainly try it again.

A word here about the service, and the word is superb. They are a friendly team at the Paul Pry, and as convivial and helpful with the locals as they are with strangers...and few come stranger than the Pub Spy!

I ordered beef, and my ever-helpful waitress immediately- and rightly so - informed me that the Paul Pry way is to serve beef “a little pink”. However, I was given the option of having it a little more well done, and in the event I was content with the faint blush on my slices. But how did it taste? The beef was a revelation, a reminder of why Old England was celebrated for its beef. The flesh was firm, but not too firm; yielding in the mouth without being too crumbly. Perfection. But I also enjoyed a croquette of pulled beef, which was an unexpected delight. The Yorkshire pudding was a tasty and generous offering; the finely shredded cabbage was fresh and almost insisted on soaking up the gravy without being asked. The parsnips too were beautifully done, but the roast potatoes - and it grieves me to complain even by this small degree...but they were a tad overdone. Inside, they were fluffy enough and, while the outside should be firm, a good roastie should be a little more yielding to the knife. However, as I have intimated, this was but a small quibble.

In short, I could barely recommend the Paul Pry highly enough for Sunday lunch. It is clearly very popular, and deservedly so. Pre-booking is advisable. It is the sort of pub where the gastronomic excellence is understated, but the excellence is present all the same.

I feel I must here mention the decor, which is also unassuming, although the dining room is grander than the bar. It’s an old pub - around 200 years old or so - with a genuine atmosphere. There is panelled wood; there are glazed Victorian tiles. It is a pleasant experience to be in a public house which is not trying very hard to be traditional, but is, in fact, the real deal.

Is expensive to dine there? Is it value for money? The answer is yes, although I do think that £2.70 for a half of IPA is a little on the pricey side. The beef Sunday lunch was well-priced, given its high quality. I didn’t mind paying £14.50.