WHEN the doors of the Penketh and Sankey Sports and Social Club shut for the final time a few years back, it may have been a stretch to imagine it would later be reborn as a restaurant championing the best of British cuisine.

But Oliver’s Restaurant – coupled with its sister venture Fagin’s Wine Bar next door – is unrecognisable from its past life of hosting family parties, in both its bright and sleek appearance and the fare on offer.

A grilled goat’s cheese crostini and wild mushroom bruschetta are tempting options from the starters menu before we plumb for smoky maple BBQ ribs and duck spring rolls – accompanied by a pint of Peroni and a pink gin and tonic, delivered in the biggest wine glass ever seen on these shores.

Four spring rolls duly arrive accompanied by a plum sauce, while the tender meat of the BBQ ribs slides succulently and effortlessly off the bone.

Appetites are by now suitably whetted for the main courses – the 10oz ribeye steak and a rack of lamb.

The lamb comes with the option of being either pink or well done (in this case, the latter), and is accompanied by an eye-catching breaded potato fondant in the shape of a pear plus a raspberry coulis.

Having resisted the temptation to push the boat out to a 14oz steak (wisely, as eyes are bigger than belly as is ever the case), it is cooked perfectly to order as medium rare and drizzled in an optional but mouth-watering peppercorn sauce alongside chunky cut chips – although the choice of French fries is also yours.

A Bailey’s cheesecake and a chocolate fondant are the temptresses that force us to cram in a pudding, and while it might be a struggle to find the room in our stomachs it is certainly not a struggle on the taste buds.

Perhaps as good an asset as the food were the staff, who were friendly and attentive throughout the evening.

In the past, you may have had to travel over the Mersey and Manchester Ship Canal to Stockton Heath to find some of the town’s finest eateries.

But along with the likes of Bombay 8 and the Miller and Carter, Oliver’s is now helping to establish a new culture of choice cuisine in the enclave of west Warrington.

At this rate, we will have a Michelin star in no time.