The Man-in-Charge came back from his squash club the other night with a hot tip for eating out – The Griffin in Barkisland.

He’d been told that this village pub is so popular at weekends we’d be lucky to get a table or, indeed, a place in the car park.

So we booked for a Tuesday night, when most venues have free tables, and found ourselves dining quietly alone.

The 17th century inn is simply but cosily appointed – flagged floors, exposed beams and a pleasingly neutral colour scheme. It acquired new owners at the tail end of last year; owners that are trying hard to establish a good reputation for hospitality and food. They’ve brought in an experienced chef, Jamie Meaden, who trained with Gordon Ramsey and has worked alongside Masterchef host Marcus Wareing. She’s been a head chef for 15 years.

As pub menus go it offers a range of eclectic food. The starters at The Griffin have an Iberian feel about them and can also be ordered as tapas dishes. Spanish food is very de rigueur at the moment, so it’s no longer a surprise to see it popping up in a traditional Yorkshire stone pub. I chose fresh figs simply grilled with a layer of goat’s cheese (£6), my husband selected prawns sauteed with garlic and chilli (£6), and our daughter picked out a scotch egg, with duck egg and black pudding (£4).

We could have had patatas bravas, deep-fried Manchego or Catalan bread. Only the scotch egg was an indicator of technical skills, but was delivered perfectly cooked, runny in the middle and crisply deep-fried around the edges.

Main courses range from pub classics such as fish and chips and pie and peas to Mediterranean-inspired salt cod, Welsh rarebit and risotto bon bons (for vegetarians). There’s also locally reared lamb and a choice of steaks.

The Man-in-Charge says the mark of a good chef is if they can cook a steak to order, so he ordered a fillet steak (£22); our daughter opted for lamb three ways (£18), which comprised shepherd’s pie, herb-crusted chop and a fillet; and I decided to test the pub classics option of pie, mushy peas and chips (£10).

With Griffin ‘secret-recipe’ onion rings, confit tomato, mushrooms and hand-cut chips on the side, the steak presented itself as a substantial meal. And the steak, I’m told, was succulent, perfectly cooked to the requested medium rare. The ‘secret-recipe’ onion rings had a pleasing spiciness and the chips were fat, golden and tasty.

Steak and chips at The Griffin, Barkisland

The lamb three ways was also found to be more than acceptable and there was a clean plate at the end of the meal.

Unfortunately, my chicken and leek pie, while tastily filled, came with puff pastry that was not quite cooked sufficiently to give it a puffed-up and browned crust and the mushy peas were on the bland side. Even more unfortunately, my chips, in contrast to those that arrived with the steak, were pale and firm. I’d actually ordered a portion of sweet potato fries with my meal but these failed to materialise.

There were profuse apologies, but I couldn’t help thinking that mine had been a disappointing dining experience. It made me wonder whether I should have taken advantage of the pub’s ‘Curry Night’ options. As we had waited more than 40 minutes for our simple starters, I also wondered how the kitchen copes when every table is full. But that’s possibly an unfair speculation, as staffing levels must be higher at weekends.

The Griffin, which has enjoyed mixed fortunes in recent years, is still finding its feet under new management and on balance I think it’s worth venturing there. It is a gastro pub in the making.

You will certainly be assured a warm welcome from the friendly staff and it’s in a lovely rural location. There’s Marston’s pedigree on tap and San Miguel for Spanish beer lovers as well as reasonably-priced house wines.

Restaurant review: The Griffin, Barkisland.

On Sunday the menu has the addition of a roast dinner with all the trimmings for £10.

The Griffin, 57 Stainland Road, Barkisland, HX4 0AQ

Tel: 01422 823873

Open for food every day except Monday.

The bill: £78.85 for three, including drinks.

Disabled access: Just one step inside the pub to navigate.