I try to grab Nathan Eades for a chat but he’s busy. We’ve arrived early for a lunch booking and he’s got seventy or so in, which isn’t bad for a restaurant that that is barely a week old. He is busy running in and out of the kitchen, conducting meetings on the fly and looking through the booking list to see if I still have to be out of the door by one -fifteen. It has the trappings of a new opening; his wife is working part-time, and there is just Nathan and his business partner Liam in the kitchen. Someone has forgotten to order an integral part of the whisky sour I want so that is off the cards. His hair has grown; a silly thing to notice but it’s the first thing I do. The slicked back bit on top falling away at the front like he is Elvis in chef whites. He looks svelte and, more importantly, happier than I have seen him in years, though in truth I haven’t seen him in years. Maybe the Cotswolds is good for him. Maybe it’s that Liam and he have the glow of people cooking their own food in their own gaff.

I eventually grab him on his way back from feeding a horse in the car park – presumably an everyday occurrence in these neck of the woods – to congratulate him on opening. He doesn’t want to discuss his old places of work, though if you’re not aware of his CV it reads roughly as this: Had own gaff, was head chef of arguably Birmingham’s most iconic starred restaurant, went to arguably the Cotswolds most iconic gastropub. Now in his own pub that looks like it was used on the set of The Holiday; all bleached stone and distressed tables. The menu feels stripped back and concise, cleverly put together so that starters are mostly a case of plating-up, leaving the graft for the mains. There is very little that is cheffy; maybe a roasted cod main with fish cake, coco beans, and smoked roe, but it’s mostly stuff you just want to eat. I’ll be back for the ham hock for two just as soon as I can find someone to share a ham hock with.

What happens next is one hour and thirteen minutes of simply flawless cookery. A half pint of prawns with the silkiest of rose marie sauce to dunk in. Smoked salmon with pickles and the horseradish cream that shows the lightest of touch. The most textbook terrine of Cotswold white chicken and ham hock, pressed like Durdle Door with intermittent layers of leek and dice of carrot to appear healthy. There are no cutting corners here, it is hard work, talent, and time. I smear the terrine inch thick on to sourdough and glaze with a little of the fruity Cumberland sauce. This, right here, is my idea of nirvana.

It is a Sunday, and we’re told categorically to order the beef, so the beef is what we get. Two strips of sirloin, ballet slipper pink and with gelatinous ribbons of ivory fat. A Yorkshire pudding is filled with braised brisket. Two types of spud; roasties that maybe could have been a little crispier and a pomme puree that is so silky smooth it is playing Frank Sinatra in the West End. A baton of carrot, some notional peas, and a cauliflower cheese on the side which bubbles and spumes with cheesey bechamel. A gravy so reduced I can see my beautiful face in it, so beefy it won the Ashes for us in the 80’s. It is glorious. Too big for one but too good not to finish. I have a shepherd’s pie with braised haunch of venison and crust of potato and Italian hard cheese. No shepherd is taming it. I burn the roof of my mouth eating it too fast, raising eyebrows for spooning it on to the Yorkshire pudding that I too requested. If I cared for the opinions of others this blog would be a flouncy little number that pretends everywhere is great. I don’t, which is why I’m standing by my hot take that Yorkies are finger foods. Thats pudding, not the breed of dogs.

With thirteen minutes left on the clock I ask if there is time for two desserts. There is and I am not a religious man but if you are listening, Thank You Superman. Two different bowls of food for two very different meal endings. A lemon posset with rhubarb and ginger compote is lip-puckeringly tart in the best possible way, whilst a date and black treacle tart is described as a ‘proper dessert’. I’ll go one further; it is everything that a dessert should be. A nap-inducing, artery filling rich steamed pudding that is likely taking the minutes off your life pissing yourself in a care home and swapping them for less time on this hell scape of a planet grinning from ear to ear. And just think of the exercise your extremities are getting as you message every person in your phone to tell them just how good it was. It comes with too much toffee sauce which everyone will know is the preference to not enough. I’m branching into hyperbole, but the only thing that makes me happier than food is seeing people I love being at their happiest eating it.

And that is lunch. Now before I award the perfect marks a few formalities. Lunch is a little over a hundred quid and includes a bit of beer, some wine, and some sweet wine. At present the booking for the website is a little long winded and is likely best approached via their Instagram, though you can also find a link to the new site on the Donnington Brewery page for the pub. Kineton is roughly fifty minutes from Brum and some time from wherever else you may be reading this, and regardless of the Google Maps outcome, you absolutely need to go. Liam, Nathan and the team have landed on something nigh on perfect. Unpretentious and loaded with skill, yet highly affordable. In time it may not be Michelin’s cup of tea but not everything in life needs to be. This is a place to go and eat real food and eat it really very well.