The UK’s hottest day ever found us booked for dinner and an overnight stay in one of the coolest hotels in the Cotswolds. Clever planning, eh? So with the car thermometer showing 35C outside, and the air-con at full power, we drove through empty roads – all were hiding from the heat – towards Upper Slaughter and the wonderful Lords of the Manor.

It’s an easy, lovely drive – past Witney, through Burford, towards Stowe, turn off in the direction of Cirencester, with the Slaughters (villages you would kill to live in, ho-ho) a mile or so up the road. Just 40 minutes door to door.

That of ‘The Lords’ is much more majestic than mine, with elegant carving on the porch that still shows damage caused by a lorry during the last war when the mansion was used by the army.

It’s been a hotel now for 47 years, initially run by one of the Witts family, the manor’s ancestral owners, but since 1997 the property of Dr Munir Majid and his wife Eileen. They bring to it the same loving care seen at The Feathers, in Woodstock, their other hotel.

No visitor can fail to feel at home – if only! – amid the fabulous country house comforts. Stepping across the threshold, observing a row of wellies in the hall (yours for the borrowing, if needed), you can’t fail to think yourself a family guest.

All the downstairs rooms – including library, games room, bar and restaurants – have been sumptuously redecorated in a procedure completed, without closure, earlier this year.

I say ‘restaurants’ because a new one, the Atrium, has opened as a stand-alone operation in a lovely room previously used as overflow to the dining room. This gives the talented head chef, Lancastrian Charles Smith, the opportunity to display his accomplishments in a £95-a-head eight-course tasting menu delivered to a maximum of 14 guests Wednesday to Sunday.

Absurdly young as he seems, Charles in fact is 29, with experience gained in high-end establishments, including Petrus by Marcus Wareing, Fera at Claridges and New York’s Per Se, once thought the city’s best. His ambition is to regain for the Lords of the Manor the Michelin star it held for a decade. On the evidence of our Atrium dinner, he won’t be waiting long.

Our evening began with drinks on the front lawn – Negroni for Rosemarie, Cotswold gin and Fever-Tree tonic for me – as we admired the glorious view over seven acres of well-tended grounds.

In the Atrium, we soon had something else to admire in the artistry shown in Charles’s three canapes: a ewe’s curd tartlet with onion crumb, mint and almond; a squid ink and buckwheat crepe with smoked salmon and caviar; and tuna tartare with avocado.

The first dish in the ‘official’ eight courses was a marinated Orkney scallop, served chopped in a shell with cider, lime, tarragon and apple (Granny Smith). This refreshing starter was succeeded by an elegant plate (see picture) of rose veal carpaccio with a potato-wrapped ‘cake’ of anchovy, horseradish and crème fraîche at its centre.

Next came a bowl of what looked like a poached black-yolked egg – in fact a froth of egg containing girolle mushrooms and sweetcorn with slices of Australian black winter truffle at its centre. Light and lovely.

The fish course brought a generous fillet of Cornish John Dory with an Espelette pepper brioche, bouillabaisse and liver (of red mullet) tapenade.

The meat course seemed to both of us the one error in an otherwise exemplary menu. It was roasted pigeon, ever inclined to toughness and not exempt from this deficiency here. Emphatically, too, this was not one for the squeamish (count Rosemarie in) with the bird’s little heart and leg displayed amid the pickled apricots, carrot and star anise. One plate went back to the kitchen untouched.

Smiles returned with a lovely soft cheese (Bosworth Ash), with honeycomb, and the puds to follow: grapefruit, jasmine tea, lavender honey (mango sorbet for me, not being allowed grapefruit); and Eton mess with strawberries and basil.

Chef Charles then arrived (he always does at his point) to toast chamomile marshmallows, and deliver three other petit fours.

In return he received our congratulations, richly deserved.