Run by Marstons' managed house division, Pathfinder Inns, the Monkfield is a large open-plan building. Much of it is mostly given over to food but there's a more "pubby" area at one end with television and games. Despite being very much what you'd expect from a new-build pub it's smart and welcoming. I visit regularly to drop off ALE (and stock up on good-value bottled beers from the nearby Morrisons) and have always been impressed by the quality and price of the real ales. Both Banks's Bitter and Original are normally on offer, both excellent brews rarely seen in these parts and the latter is actually a mild, and very tasty too. Pedigree is often on as well plus a changing guest beer. The prices are the cheapest locally outside of Wetherspoons.

On my visits the food has always looked both interesting and good value even though you always suspect with managed houses that most of it might be shipped in from some central depot for reheating (which turned out to be absolutely not the case here).

Jane and I decided to visit on a Sunday lunchtime, getting there early because you formerly got a third off orders placed before noon - but that has now been withdrawn. Prices were reasonable anyway with Jane's traditional Sunday roast coming in at £5.50 and my Steak Fajitas, from the specials board, at £7.50. The roast had a choice of pork or beef and Jane went for the latter of which there was a plentiful supply of tender slices. The vegetables (carrots, broccoli and new potatoes) were perfectly cooked whilst roast potatoes, Yorkshire pud and gravy completed a fine example of the genre.

My Steak Fajitas was simply excellent. Succulent strips of beef were served with roast peppers and onion plus a crisp salad (with lime to squeeze) and guacamole, salsa and sour cream dips - delicious. Five other specials complemented the extensive regular menu (which you can view at

The Monkfield offers various special deals such as two courses for just £4.25 between noon and 6, Monday to Thursday and curries plus drinks for £5.25 on their Curry Night.

Oh yes, and the guest beer on our visit was Marstons wonderful Old Empire (renamed Old Umpire for the cricket season) a classic old-fashioned IPA weighing in a mighty 5.7%.

Definitely a pub which comes into the "surprisingly good" category.