I hate Sundays. One minute you're enjoying a lie-in or a cooked breakfast-come-lunch and suddenly you're half-way through the EastEnders omnibus and the day has nearly gone.
 
I am reliably informed I'm not the only person who gets the Sunday blues.
 
It's not necessarily the thought of work the next day that causes it, more the fact that the weekend is drawing to a close, or exciting events you were looking forward to have been and gone.
 
My Sunday blues are a long-standing source of amusement for my fiancé.
 
John loves to mock me when I'm sitting around 'waiting for Monday,' as he puts it.
 
On the day in question, I was having a particularly bad SAD (Sunday affective disorder) episode - to the extent that I even agreed to do a 45-minute market research phone survey, something I never do.
 
The situation was critical. 'Waiting for Monday, are we?' John taunted, sticking his head around the patio door, smirking.
 
'Actually,' I said, trying desperately to sound perkier than I felt, 'I thought we'd go out for dinner?'
 
'Ooh, sounds good,' said John, clearly surprised.
 
I suggested Rowton Poplars bistro, on Whitchurch Road, as it offers a traditional carvery meal - and with it being Sunday, we fancied a roast dinner.
 
It was a glorious spring evening and as we drove to the restaurant the sun was still shining brightly. It felt like summer was just around the corner.
 
'It's been a lovely day,' I commented. Despite the fact it's a Sunday, I added in my head.
 
John agreed and having been working in the garden for most of the afternoon, he had built up an appetite.
 
The evening sun lit up the modest red-brick building which, from the outside, looked just like a large house. We later found out from the manager that it had been revamped in September to update its image from a B&B to a modern, family-run bistro/ hotel.
 
My mood was lifting as we relaxed on a squishy sofa in the modern bar area to browse the menu.
 
The braised lamb shank bubble and squeak cooked in red wine and rosemary (£11.50), off the a la carte, briefly distracted John from his roast, while I contemplated the duck breast with stir fry vegetables in a plum and ginger sauce (£12.95).
 
But we stuck to our guns and chose the carvery option - reasonably priced, we thought, at £7.95 a head. To start with, John picked the home-made smoked haddock and salmon fishcakes with spring onion risotto and salsa (£5.75). I ordered pesto baked field mushrooms on a herb crostini, accompanied by a creamy garlic sauce (£4.75).
 
We remained curled up on the sofa until the waiter took us to our table in time for our starters.
 
The modern décor continued in the main dining area, which was compact without feeling crowded.
 
My crostini was slightly over-toasted but the extra crunch gave an added contrast to the creamy garlic sauce and field mushrooms, touched with pesto.
 
The mushrooms were cooked just right and the garlic sauce was delicious without being too overpowering. It was a very generous portion.
 
John said he could taste more haddock than salmon in his fish-cakes but this was merely an observation and didn't detract from his enjoyment of the dish.
 
He thought the risotto was slightly undercooked but to me, admittedly a risotto novice, it was tasty with a good hint of spring onion.
 
As the waitress cleared our plates, she said we could go through to the carvery when we were ready.
 
As with all carveries, I was mildly worried about how long the meat and vegetables had been left standing under the hot lamps, but the pork, turkey and two joints of beef (one well done and rare) looked inviting.
 
I had a slice of each meat, choosing the more well-cooked beef while John focused on the rare.
 
There weren't piles of of vegetables on offer but I took this as a good thing - replacing small quantities regularly is better than letting large amounts dry out.
 
Plates piled high, we carefully returned to our table.
 
The broccoli was cooked perfectly, as were the roasted carrot and butternut squash batons. There were also peas, corn and bacon in a creamy sauce which we found different and tasty, though filling. The pork was delicious - very moist and tender, as was the beef. The turkey was slightly drier but still good. John said his rare beef was a little fatty but cooked just right.
 
My only disappointment was the stuffing, which had dried out too much for my liking, but the slightly spicy cocktail sausages wrapped in bacon more than compensated for this.
 
John, a huge fan of roast potatoes, initially thought they could have been a bit crispier but later decided they were crispy enough (and he says I'm indecisive). I had no complaints at all about the potatoes - except I only managed to eat one.
 
I was on the verge of being completely full but still, rather piggishly I admit, ordered honeycomb ice cream for dessert.
 
Several desserts involved chocolate which, as we'd both given it up, should have been off the menu...
 
John tried to defend his chocolate brownie choice by saying it was in the name of research but it didn't wash with me.
 
I tucked into the honeycomb ice cream guilt-free. It was delicious - creamy with a good measure of honeycomb pieces thrown in for a bit of crunch.
 
I angelically, though enviously, refused John's offer of a taste of the big gooey brownie set down in front of him. But he assured me it tasted as good as it looked and smelled.
 
Stuffed, we made our way home and I have to admit I was definitely feeling chirpier - well, it is better to wait for Monday on a full stomach than an empty o n e. n If you would like to have your say regarding any of our restaurant reviews, write to Tom Evans, Editorial, Chronicle House, Commonhall Street, Chester CH1 2AA or e-mail tom.evans@ cheshirenews.co.uk or
 
Factfile*
 
Rowton Poplars, Whitchurch Road, Rowton CH3 6AF 

Telephone: 01244 333010

Cost: £43.60 for three courses including carvery, one glass of wine (£2.95) and a lager shandy (£2.50) and soft drink (£1).
Best bits: Good service, good value for money
Worst bits: Dining area a bit on the small side
Would suit: Most people looking for good food in modern surroundings, families welcome
Wouldn't suit: It would be hard not to find something for everyone, whether it's a light bite or three-course dinner