AS I sit typing this with only a limp length of celery and lump of hummus for company, I dream of my meal just two days before:

The parking spaces are full when we arrive for Sunday lunch at The Chequers, so I squeeze my car next to the a hedge and hope for the best.

We stride with rumbling stomachs past a line of topiary plants and a fat thatched roof and are immediately welcomed in the doorway by a smiling waiter.

Busy tables give the air a buzz and a chilled acoustic soundtrack is still audible over the chatter.

A crackling fire seems a little premature given the sunshine outside, though perhaps that is me being in denial about the onset of colder months.

I sink into my chair and barely need to consult the set menu, having already been sold by the whiff of gravy.

Both Tom and I opt for the roast beef, and are pleasantly surprised when we are presented with steaming plates less than ten minutes later.

The carved meat is perfectly pink and tender, far from the hunks of brown rubber often served up at carveries.

Chefs have achieved a mean feat by making the plate look attractive, layering crunchy carrots and bright cabbage onto an impossibly-smooth spoonful of swede mash.

The meat sits next to a puff of Yorkshire pudding that is lighter in texture than any I have tasted before, topped with parsnip crisps that give a satisfying snap.

A mound of horseradish sauce offers a fiery kick to balance the sweetness of the root veg, and looks to be homemade.

I could only improve the gravy, which I had hoped would be less watery.

The set menu offers two courses for £22.50, and we decide it would be rude not to indulge in pudding.

Not ones for sharing food, we both choose the plum crumble.

It arrives in a dainty coffee cup, served with a scoop of bean-flecked vanilla ice cream.

The fruit is just as delicious as the main, though – as always – I would have liked more crumble topping.

The Chequers, Abingdon Road, Burcot, 01865 407771.