We liked the Appleford Kitchen & Bar the moment we walked through the front door to be greeted by the smiling proprietor Michelle Marriott and the sight of what was clearly a dog basket by the front door.

“Who does that belong to?” asked Rosemarie, even before we addressed the rather more important (to me) matter of what we might be going to drink and eat.

It was, we learned, the resting place — when not prowling and on the scrounge — of Michelle’s cocker spaniel, Ruby. We were later to meet this engaging animal when the ‘not in the restaurant while customers are eating’ rule was relaxed, we by then being the only customers at the trough.

Two evidently happy diners had left some 15 minutes earlier. “You’re Christopher Gray, I think,” said the man, leading me to wonder whether, like Lobby Lud of The Westminster Gazette, I should have rewarded him with a cash prize. “It’s very good food,” he added. This unsolicited testimonial would have been music to the ears of Michelle, had she overheard it (which I think she did).

In just over a month as owner of the pub she has become used to compliments of this sort. Dreaming of her own place in the country, she looked at various properties in the area before deciding to buy and renovate what had been The Carpenter’s Arms, a traditional local dating back to 1891 and belonging to Greene King. The talented team of chefs she hired earned customer approval from the start. Word of mouth is spreading. This article ought to help. I hope it does.

Wide-ranging conversation with Michelle and first sips of the unoaked Australian chardonnay (Berri Estates, 2010) were enjoyed at the bar while we made our food choices from the menu.

Actually, it’s menus, since The Appleford operates one primarily for serving in the lounge (though you can have it in the restaurant, too) and a rather more elaborate alternative for more formal dining. The former has such dishes as scotch egg, whitebait, shell-on prawns, fish and chips, belly pork, beef and ale pie, and cheeseburger. The latter has (for instance) ham-hock and caper terrine, pigeon spring roll, watercress and potato soup, to be followed by rib-eye steak with glazed oxtail, Gressingham duck breast, beetroot risotto or lamb rump.

To start, I ordered smoked trout pâté — the fish supplied by the excellent Bibury Trout Farm — with watercress, granary bread and dill butter. The pâté was appealingly presented in what seemed like a large sardine tin. I would actually have preferred toast to the rather tired bread, though second slices when requested were much fresher.

Rosemarie had seared scallops, three whoppers, served without coral, looking good alongside a langoustine (unshelled), sweetcorn purée, popcorn and a garnish of crab apple. Her main course choice, from the lounge menu, was lamb hash — mashed potato threaded with strips of tender meat and served with two fried eggs and meaty gravy. I had roasted plaice — a chunk cut sidewards through what must have been a very large fish — aboard shreds of baby gem lettuce in a broth containing smoked bacon chunks, brown shrimps and shelled clams.

We shared plate of cheese (Stinking Bishop, Barkham Blue and Waterloo Soft Sheep’s — all from Jill Draycott at Peachcroft Farm and all splendid. Rosemarie also had the pear tart Tatin, which went down very well.