Pretentious pub menus have been panned in the Good Pub Guide for 2003, published this week.

Editor Alisdair Aird held up for ridicule decsriptoons such as the one used by one pub for its salmon fish fingers: "Scottish salmon digits heavenly dusted in cracked black peppercorns and pan flashed before being nappied with a cream glace built up with a dash of brandy, a touch of mustard and a scattering of green peppercorns."

However, Aird said, although the language was sometimes over the top, there had been an "explosion of interest" among pub chefs in using natural, local ingredients, which was improving the quality of pub food.

He said more pubs also now offer cut-price small helpings for children or anyone with a smaller appetite, or "split pricing" on some dishes, with the full price for a main course helping and a lower price for the same dish as a smaller a starter or "light bite" helping.