A former hotel, then known as The Garden House as part of the Crown Carvery group, the Prae Wood Arms is now a newly refurbished pub run by Brunning and Price, not too far from the St Albans City centre.

It is in my opinion quintessentially English - from the decor, the beautiful and peaceful surroundings right through to the menu. As you walk in the staff are very welcoming and there is a nice, calm atmosphere, which certainly makes this a great place to go on a summer's evening. There is even a lawn and play area for kids with a tractor and dogs are even allowed.

As the weather was nice we chose to sit outside. For drinks we both ordered a bottle of Peroni - although they do have a large selection of wines. I was a little disappointed that it wasn't very cold at all - it's a small thing but on a hot day makes all the difference. We also ordered some baby sweet peppers, which were stuffed with soft cheese (£4.25) while we pondered the menu - they were absolutely delicious and the perfect appetiser to have while you wait.

Not that I needed them, but for anyone who wears reading glasses and always forgets them, Prae Woods Arms has spares that you can borrow and means you don't have to ask someone to read the menu to you, which is a nice touch.

For starters I went for the seared scallops with crab and lemon fritters and pea purée (£10.95) - an absolute delight, the scallops were delicately cooked and the pea purée was a refreshing accompaniment. My friend went for the spring vegetable minestrone with black olive and cheese straws (£5.25), a soup, which nicely balanced.

For mains I went for the chicken supreme with wild mushroom arancini, spinach purée, red chard and red wine gravy (£14.25), which again was lovely, especially the arancini.

My friend went for the wild mushroom tortellini with asparagus, king oyster mushrooms and madeira broth (£11.95) which was an inspired ensemble. We also ordered a side of chunky chips (£3.50), which were fantastic, especially when dipped into red wine gravy.

Finally for dessert I had the hot waffle with caramelised banana and vanilla ice cream (£5.75) and my friend went for the sticky toffee pudding which came with vanilla ice-cream too (£5.95). He enjoyed his pudding, however, I found the sauce on top of the waffles incredibly sweet - in the end I only managed to eat half of it.

Although the food and drink can be the pricey side for a pub menu, it is delicious - however my friend did point out that there wasn't a great deal choice for vegetarians. Prae Wood Arms is overall a great place to spend a family afternoon or even a chilled out evening.

The Prae Wood Arms, Garden House Lane, St Albans, AL3 6JZ. 
Call 01727 229090 or go to brunningandprice.co.uk for further details.