WITH autumn having arrived, it’s time to ditch the salads and indulge in some good old hearty meals. Carbs make a welcome comeback as the leaves turn golden: what a delicious time of year.

I decided to mark the new season this week with a pub meal in Ulverston with a friend, returning after quite a gap to the Sun Inn, slap bang in the centre of town.

Since its makeover two-plus years ago, the Sun has settled into its place in the local dining scene. I enjoyed it the first time I tried it - would it be as good again?

Early evening, it wasn’t particularly busy, but then neither was the other pub we called into for a preprandial snifter.

The main bar area at the Sun is large and festooned with television screens. Customers flock to the Sun for big matches, and the pub did a roaring trade during this year’s World Cup. Good for them, but distracting TV screens absolutely do not do it for me. I’d been in the pub a few weeks ago for a colleague’s leaving do and, on a Saturday night with 100 per cent of punters talking to each other rather than trying to watch television, I could see no point to them at all.

Thankfully, on Tuesday the screens were off but we weren’t risking it and headed into the smallish but screen-free (as far as I could tell) dining area. It’s a longish room, overlooking the main drag, and with understated decor. Nothing flash at all but it’s got a good atmosphere nevertheless - and you do actually feel as though you are in a pub.

We ordered an average-priced bottle of Australian chardonnay, which was light, unoaked and very palatable.

After much dithering, we eventually chose a starter to share: meatloaf in a peppery sauce with sautéed potatoes. Relatively unusual for a pub starter but when it came, we both tucked in and enjoyed it. The meatloaf had the texture of haggis (which we both love) and the fiery pepper sauce was creamy and rich. Well-fried potatoes complemented the dish. Far too much for one person as a starter, I thought, but great for two to share.

Next up, Sarah had chosen a plate of ribs from the specials list, with sweetcorn and spicy potatoes, while I had gone off the main menu and chosen the “build your own burger” option. As a base you can choose from Aberdeen Angus beef, chicken (including a battered fillet) or falafel.

I went down the steak route, being something of a purist when it comes to burgers - it’s beef all the way for me.

I added Monterey Jack cheese to my burger order, and opted for the homemade burger sauce, along with some extra toppings at 50p a throw: caramelised onions and gherkins (although I balked at paying extra for gherkins on a burger - they should come as standard, surely? It’s like being asked to pay extra for ice in a jug of water).

Sarah’s ribs were plentiful and sticky, smothered in an unctuous sauce. She had to ask for a finger bowl, which should have been brought as a matter of course, but thoroughly enjoyed her meal - with the caveat that the potatoes would been improved had they been crispy.

My burger was delicious: a thick, juicy patty, with onion rings, good sauce and generous chunks of gherkin. An undressed salad added nothing much to the dish and the chips had to go back to the kitchen, as they were seriously undercooked. Good chips should be crisp, fluffy and golden, not white and flabby. I wondered if they were meant to be twice- or thrice-cooked, as is the current fashion, and the chef had forgotten to give them their final dunking.

They were removed without fuss and a fresh lot delivered - much crisper and hotter.

By the time I’d finished my burger, there were bits of bun and salad leaves strewn all over the table, as it had come on a narrow wooden board (one of my pet dining hates). Unfortunately, I didn’t notice until far too late that on the Sun’s menu - under the list of puddings - they tell you that some of the food is served on “creative tableware such as boards and slates” (if you can call that creative) but that if you want it served on a plate, just tell the staff.

I wish I’d seen that - but good for them in catering for us philistines who don’t appreciate the whole “creative” thing about food being served on chopping boards.

In all, this had been a good meal.

Quality ingredients and just a slight blip with the chips. At £50 for two, including wine, we thought it good value. It may be autumn but the Sun is still going strong.

Food 4

Service 4

Atmosphere 3.5

Value 4


Serves all day

Plates on request

Comfy seating


Quite small tables for two

Chip blip