GOING out for dinner, to me, is a real treat, but the venue is definitely chosen specifically with the event or mood of the evening in mind.

Walking into the Magnolia Restaurant, it was hard at first to gauge the exact tone.

The dining room was busy, but didn’t feel too crowded, and the lighting subtly changed colour throughout the night to keep things interesting.

There were formal diners enjoying cuts elegantly-presented dishes, as well as locals and hotel guests sharing pizzas.

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Normally I’d be sceptical about a restaurant that claims to ‘do it all’, but in this case (as we came to discover) there really was something for everyone.

We enjoyed a couple of glasses of fizz while perusing the menu, which had a nice range of options without being overwhelming.

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While we browsed we enjoyed some sourdough from a bakery just across the border in Lechlade (£4), which came with butter and salt crystals, for extra bite.

To start, I chose the grilled Cornish mackerel, with buttermilk potato mousse and cucumber ketchup (£7).

The fish was beautiful, with a very crispy skin but light and flaky beneath (pictured below), which went well with the smooth potatoes (think very well-mashed mash...).

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Adam decided on the Cheltenham beetroots, with a smoked mayonnaise and cheese custard (£8.50), which was a lovely, colourful dish, but very light (pictured below).

For each course we took advantage of a wine pairing service offered by general manager and sommelier Ronan Hunter.

It’s not something we would usually do, so it was both an interesting experience and a chance to sample wines we wouldn’t pick up in the supermarket (I tried a Grüner Veltliner with the fish - excellent choice).

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If Ronan is around on your visit, it’s well worth asking for his recommendation of wine, as he was spot on.

For the main course I chose the braised pork osso bucco, with baby leeks and mustard mash (£17) (pictured below) while Adam opted for the chump of Wootton Bassett lamb, with tarragon, romesco and courgette (£19).

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He couldn’t resist the lamb fat roasted new potatoes or red cabbage slaw either (both £4).

My pork was absolutely incredible - I only had to wave a fork at it and it was falling off the bone, and it went very well with the mustardy mash.

Adam said his lamb was also cooked excellently, with a great texture and very (his word not mine...) moist.

Both meals were the perfect size, enough to feel full up and satisfied with the good food, but not excessive.

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Chump of Wootton Bassett lamb

That being said... There is always room for something sweet. As a chocolate lover I couldn’t resist the warm cookie pot with white chocolate ice cream (£7.50).

It seemed to have come fresh from the oven, in a small cast-iron pot, crispy on the edges and soft and gooey in the middle - what more can you ask for?

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Adam was more traditional and went for one of his firm favourites, the warm cherry bakewell tart (£7.50).

A far cry from a Mr Kipling special (which are also delicious in their own right), this one was proper pastry and missing the signature bright red glacier cherry, and went down a treat.

In all, the whole experience was thoroughly enjoyable. The meal was of a very high standard, and the atmosphere was relaxing.

Soft background music played throughout, also catering to a variety of tastes, with everything from Take That (no thank you ) to Charles Aznavour (much better).

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Warm cherry bakewell tart

Although the meals we chose were on the more expensive end of the menu’s scale, other options include White Horse all battered haddock and chips (£14.50) or the Wagyu beef burger with Applewood cheddar and bacon (£15.50).

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The Magnolia also boasts its own pizza oven, cooking thin and crispy pizzas at high temperatures using Italian caputo flour (the only real choice for authentic pizza, or so I’m told), ranging from £11.

Although we didn’t sample them, seeing them prepared in the open-plan kitchen definitely piqued our interest, and we’ll definitely be back for a taste at some point soon.