HAVING clocked the Laurent-Perrier head offices on the drive in and a healthy smattering of topiary-lined homes, I doubt the Pub in the Park clientele flinched upon paying £40 for evening entry.

Though this was the most expensive food festival I have been to, its price was merited by its dual status as a music concert with some seriously big names - headlined on the first of four nights by jazz supremo Jamie Cullum, with others on the bill including Razorlight and Tom Odell.

The relaxed event in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, is the brainchild of celebrity chef Tom Kerridge, whose Michelin-starred pub the Hand and Flowers is just a few minutes from the venue.

It is set in Higginson Park, which backs onto the River Thames in view of Marlow Suspension Bridge and the spire of All Saints Church.

There were 12 food stands dotted around belonging to a celebrated restaurants and pubs like Jason Atherton's Berners Tavern and Andrew Pern's The Star Inn.

This was on top of 19 bars - including a riverside VIP tent and a striking Sipsmith gin marquee - and more than 150 food and drink exhibitors.

Chef's menus offered a tempting and varied feast of comfort food - my first pick was Berners Tavern's mac and cheese with braised beef blade and breadcrumbs.

No other macaroni cheese will ever compare - it was so unbelievably good I shunned the other stands to go back for another, and embarrassed myself by shaking the chef's hand like a crazed fan.

All dishes at the 12 stands cost £5, which I felt very reasonable given the culinary prowess of chefs on the bill.

Though portions are smaller, the mac and cheese, for example, would set you back £25 in the restaurant.

Drinks were pricier - a refreshing cocktail at the Sipsmith tent was £12.

There was a man going around pouring out free pints of ale - if you could befriend him and master the art of sneaking free samples from the shopping area, you could easily take the budget tour.

Pub in the Park will visit three more parks this summer including Royal Victoria Park in Bath from June 8-10, where music acts include Toploader and Melanie C.

See pubintheparkuk.com for details and tickets.