What better way than to set the standards for dining out in 2012 than a visit to one of East Lancashire’s premier eating establishments?

By now everyone is probably aware of the Clog’s pedigree – a Ribble Valley Inn, with top chef Nigel Haworth’s commitment to quality and local produce engrained in its DNA.

But reputation is one thing, being able to consistently live up to expectations is another.

When we visited, the place was buzzing.

But our greeting was totally unflustered, we were calmly shown to a table, had the (many) specials explained and given time to make our selections.

And you will need time as you will be guaranteed a dining dilemma.

I went for my usual.

On the menu its billed as a char grilled rump steak on a toasted English muffin. In reality, it’s a posh burger.

What makes establishments like the Clog a cut above is the attention to detail.

So for your £10.50 you get lots of little pots to play with including a wonderful mustard mayonnaise and some of the best chips around, couble cooked in dripping.

The better half went for another traditional favourite the Lancashire hotpot (also £10.50), again beautifully presented with a crispy potato topping, huge, tender chunks of meat and the vital red cabbage accompaniment.

The pudding menu is a dream for the sweet-toothed.

For me, the big winner is always the traditional pancakes (£5) available with a variety of toppings – I went for the blueberries and ice cream.

The better half indluged herself with the double chocolate mousse with milk foam and warm chocoalte sauce which was just as good as it sounds.

Sure the Clog can be beaten on price but it sets the standards for quality against which I’ll be judging all others in the months to come.