We arrived early on a Thursday evening but several tables were already occupied by folk dining or about to dine. Thirst things first – a couple of pints. ALE's correspondent who covers this area, Carl Woolf, had reported “the Nethergate IPA on sale during August rated a 5-star for excellence. This accolade is not often bestowed.” We went for Augustinian from the same brewery and it was truly superb – a beautifully complex 4.5% brew. Adnams Bitter and Broadside were on the other pumps.

The menu offered ten mains options – well, twelve actually as there were two each of Pie of the Day and Curry of the Day. We could have had Beer Battered Cod, Chips and Peas (£8.90) or Seafood Platter (£10.20) or one of the Steak dishes (which most other people seemed to be having). However, learning that one of the pie choices was Steak and Kidney Pudding made my decision making easy. Jane fancied a curry and went for Chicken Korma rather than Beef Madras. Both dishes were £10.20.

Now, I adore Steak and Kidney Pudding but am regularly disappointed by what fetches up on my plate. Either the suet pastry is soggy or the filling is too dry or, most often, THERE'S NOT ENOUGH KIDNEY. Anyway, no such problems here. Lovely firm pastry, thick gravy around the tender meat and a sufficiency of kidney (I'd still have liked more but I guess most folk would regard that as a surfeit). The accompaniments were a mound of gorgeously smooth and buttery mash and just-right carrots, shredded cabbage and broccoli. Pretty much faultless to my tastebuds and plenty of it.

Jane's curry came with a bed of boiled rice and a naan and had a generous helping of chicken pieces in a smooth sauce. Korma should be mild and lightly-spiced and Jane found it tasty enough. She did think the extreme smoothness of the sauce unusual and would have preferred a more discernible vegetable presence – presumably the onions etc. had all been thoroughly puree'd. The Pear Tree has a take-away service for curries, Wednesday to Sunday, with eight options so, clearly, curry is taken seriously here – perhaps we need to go back and try one of the more challenging dishes.

Onwards to pudding, with a choice of five, all at £4.80. I plumped for the extreme decadence which is Eton Mess – whipped cream, meringue, strawberries and black cherries, served in a tall glass. Personally I like my meringue a bit chewy rather than flaky but otherwise this hit the spot even if not to the benefit of my chlorestorol levels. Jane was equally pleased with her Belgian Chocolate Pudding – a rich dark chocolate sponge with ditto rich choccy sauce offset by superior vanilla ice cream.

We enjoyed our meal and it's great to see such a small village pub not just surviving but seemingly thriving. It has just a single L-shaped bar with a brick built bar counter in the corner. Years ago, it had tables suspended from the roof and you can still see the hooks in the ceiling (I believe the same arrangement still survives at the King Bill, Heydon) On one wall is a visual illustration of how a handpump works. If you intend visiting then please note that the pub is closed 9th to 26th October while Paul And Sonya take a well-earned holiday. Otherwise it's open Wednesday to Sunday evenings and Sunday lunchtime.