When you hear that a chef from a Michelin-starred restaurant is doing a day's shift at your local hostelry, any thoughts of "pub grub" should beat a hasty retreat.
Every couple of months, the White Hart Inn, Lydgate, in Oldham, invites a top culinary name into its kitchen. This novel idea came from head chef John Rudden and landlord Charles Brierley to promote the converted White Hart Inn to northern gourmets after a £400,000 renovation.
"The White Hart was known as a drinking hole. Having undergone a transformation, we have to show the public that it has moved on. When Paul Reed [executive chef at the Chester Grosvenor] cooked a gourmet dinner here last month, people could see we are no longer just a pub - we are about good food."
Potential diners would be even more impressed to learn that Rudden trained under Reed for four years before moving to the award-winning Angel Inn at Hetton as sous chef. The White Hart is his first head chef position and he now leads a brigade of five.
Simplicity is the governing hand behind dishes on the menu, although Rudden says there is a smattering of French influences.
The main restaurant serves dinner only - three courses for £19.95 and two for £16.95. Prices include coffee and canapés. Typical of the latest menu, which changes every three weeks, is a starter of home-smoked salmon with fresh horseradish, and roasted brill fillet with red jus as a main course.
In an unusual touch, the menu explains that "all dishes are available with or without sauces". Rudden says this satisfies the current trend for less rich food. The 56-seat restaurant does an average of 145 covers per week and is aimed at "the higher spending client".
"We're gearing ourselves to people who want to enjoy good food and are prepared to travel for it," Rudden says.
The brasserie, which seats up to 50 people, is for informal, inexpensive dining, with people spending £3 to £4 for lunch and £12 to £15 on supper. It sees a weekly average of 110 covers at dinner and 130 for lunch.
The 11-item menu is changed regularly, depending on availability of produce and popularity of dishes. An "enormously popular" dish is the 16oz Aberdeen Angus rib-eye steak at £12.95 and the classic Arnold Bennet omelette at £4.50 - a dish "borrowed" from the Chester Grosvenor menu. This comes under "quick dishes" on the menu, of which there are six.
Brierley says these dishes are ideal for people who have got only 20 minutes for lunch. "It's fine if they just want to pop in and have a bowl of home-made soup - they are as welcome as those customers who come in for a three-course meal."
The five starters include tian of wild mushrooms, spinach and pinenuts (£3.95), also available as a main at £5.25. The six desserts on offer include Osbourne pudding with thick cream (£3.25) and a selection of home-made ice-creams (£3.25).
On the wine list, which carries more than 100 types, eight wines are also listed by the glass. They include Rouge Homme Cabernet Shiraz 1992 (£9.75 or £2.50 per glass) and Bernkasteler Kufurstlay Kabinett (Mosel) Peter Mertes (£8.95 or £1.95 per glass).