EVERY so often in this job you discover a hidden gem that is so good you really don't want to tell anybody else about it.

The Leatherne Bottel at Goring is just such a place, and I can only hope that others find it as difficult to get to as I did.

My first challenge was getting to the right Leatherne Bottel.

Having rushed to finish work in Oxford, I jumped in the car, punched 'Leathern Bottle' into the SatNav and raced down the A40 to Lewknor.

When I finally arrived, 15 minutes late, and walked up to the bar, I knew instantly from the way the barmaid looked at me.

"You look a bit lost," she said.

"I think I've got a table booked at 6.30," I said.

"Are you sure?" She said, "We don't do bookings."

"There aren't two Leatherne Bottels, are there?" I asked pointlessly, knowing the answer already.

After a quick phone call to Katie, who had now already been waiting patiently at the Leatherne Bottel, Goring, for 15 minutes, I dived back in the car.

I now raced down narrow country roads through the gorgeous Chiltern Hills, blinded by the beautiful setting sun, and had to slam on the brakes when out of nowhere appeared a sign for a second Leatherne Bottel.

After veering down what looked like a private driveway just wide enough for one car, I went over a bridge only to be faced with hair-pin bend on a 45 degree downward slope.

It was only when I made it round a second bend that my view exploded into a panoramic vista of the North Wessex Downs, the River Thames and, sat on its placid banks, an extremely welcome Leatherne Bottel - two.

Bounding breathlessly inside I was greeted warmly by Sally Albin who had invited us to sample the new Bottel tonight after she took it over in July.

After making repeated rambling apologies about driving to Lewknor we were finally sat in the conservatory with the sun setting over the hills and flocks of ducks flying in v-formations overhead.

Having done zero research in advance, I was delighted to discover there was the option of a six-course tasting menu (£55) with a wine flight (£30) so we threw caution to the wind and put ourselves in head chef Adam Hague's hands.

The first dish Mr Hague describes as 'Goats Cheese/ hazelnut | fig | buttermilk'.

It arrived a golden brown deep-fried goats cheese egg in batter laid on a fruity compote, then a second waiter then brought two tiny jugs of fig-infused buttermilk which he poured delicately in a moat around each of our starters to create the watercolour wonder you can see.

The taste was immaculate – gooey, warm cheese in crunchy batter, tangy fruit and sweet and creamy buttermilk. Our first wine, a Chateau Gairoird 2017 rosé, perfectly paired.

After the first bite Katie said: "This is already winning the reviews," and while I of course withheld judgement at such an early stage, she was, as always, right.

Next was 'Mackerel/ wasabi | cucumber | dill'. The presentation of this spicy and tangy little taster was less exciting but perfectly proportioned, and it came with a sweet and slightly tart Sharpham Dart Valley Reserve 2016 from Devon.

Course three, 'Monkfish/ cauliflower | leek | vinegar' came with bonus crunchy things on top, and was possibly the least exciting on a strong menu. The continued accompaniment of the Dart Valley Reserve (there are only four wines for the six courses) was a miss rather than a hit for me – but did not prevent us finishing both.

As we took the first bites of our 'Duck/ broccoli | turnip | miso' I thought we must have peaked. Aside from the fact that the dish came with what I can only describe as a five-star sausage roll (presumably stuffed with duck), it was exactly as described – no fancy footwork – the chef had simply cooked everything on the plate to perfection. The 2016 Chilean Alberca Pinot Noir, light and fruity, would not be my first choice, but it let the duck sing (quack?).

Not being a big fan of cheese courses or desserts, I assumed for me this would be the highlight of the night.

Picture my astonishment, then, as course five arrived – Fourme d'Ambert blue cheese with celeriac and pear, served under a single sheet of spring roll-style pastry and accompanied by a sweet Italian Palazzina Moscato Passito dessert wine (2014).

Not having expected much from the cheese course, my brain went into some kind of melt-down at this point and I had an out-of-body experience. The only way I can describe it is it was exactly like the scene in the episode of American Dad when Roger eats the infamous French Ortolan - a tiny songbird drowned in cognac then eaten whole with a napkin over the head to hide one's shame from God - and the whole thing is so orgasmic that he has an out-of-body experience. Funnily enough, this turned out to be rather an appropriate simile – before the Bottel Sally used to be marketing director at Michelin-starred L'Ortolan restaurant in Shinfield. (Disclaimer: The Leatherne Bottel does not endorse drowning live songbirds or watching puerile American cartoons).

Finally came the dessert: 'Banana/ panna cotta | pecan | caramel'. Now, given Katie and I both hate panna cotta and I'm not a big fan of pecans, this time we were certain that we would be able to find fault. We were wrong again. Served with what I think was a salted caramel ice cream and some crunchy salty caramel wafers, the whole thing was obscenely good.

If I had to find a fault I'd say that the dessert wine, which was carried over from the cheese course, was so sweet that it didn't do anything to complement the sugary flavours, but that's pretty weak as far as criticism goes.

Add to this the fact that our various waiters and waitresses throughout the night were cheery, engaging and informative and I'm struggling to offer you anything useful in the way of criticism.

I would love to tell you that the Leatherne Bottel was not worth the hour-long drive from Oxford via Lewknor and the terrifying hair-pin downhill bend and making Katie wait three quarters of an hour, but it was: it was worth every single bit.