Eating in a tent may not seem an obvious choice in the middle of winter when you’re still scraping ice off your car every morning, but The Yurt Cafe at North Aston has got it covered, from a wood-burning stove to blankets, comfy sofas, easy chairs and footstools.

What is less known is its dedication to the environment – its eco-pledge is impressive and committed.

From biodegradable napkins and fewer plastic bags, to growing fresh vegetables and herbs in their special Kitchen Garden, Nicholsons Garden Centre, where the yurt is located, even saves its food waste for a local family’s pig farm.

Solar panels power all the electricity and its reservoir creates an on-site heating system. A wood chip Biomass boiler uses waste wood from the nursery to power all the hot water and heating, and is harvested from arboricultural works in Oxfordshire, from managed woodlands.

Organic fruit and vegetables hail from North Aston Organics veg box scheme, free-range eggs from a family farm in Witney, the meat is free-range, British and from family-run farms and the cream and ice-cream is from the organic dairy in North Aston.

The cafe even uses biodegradable, recycled cups, and you get 20p off if you reuse or bring in your own cup.

Which is all well and good, and a wonderful example of what can be done when you set your mind to it, restaurants being notorious for waste, but what about the food.

No one is going to go unless you can dine with enjoyment, whether it’s eco-friendly or not.

And The Yurt has been through a few hiccups since it opened last year, it’s turnover of chefs notorious in the early days

So it was a pleasant surprise on navigating our way through the garden centre and out the other side into the fiercely cold wind, to then emerge in said tent, to be met with a very warm, cosy scene that even the Scandinavians would be envious of.

Sofas and cosy chairs curled around the woodburner with people reading books, chatting and drinking coffee.

Proper diners tended to emigrate to the tables scattered throughout, framed by a huge and rather ornate planting centrepiece which Queen Victoria would have coveted.

It’s definitely a cafe though with cakes on stands and an extensive tea and coffee menu, but that’s not to detract from the lunch menu, which was all home-made and appealing, perfectly suited to the cold climes outside.

It also showed a delicate touch, a soothing, gentle, heart-warming choice, which suggested a woman’s touch, so I wasn’t surprised to find that the creative chef is Fiona Cullinane aided by Penny and head chef Luis Veiga.Vegans, vegetarians and coeliacs are all well catered for here.

As time was short we bypassed the delicious sounding starters which included hot smoked salmon with black rice or the leek and borlotti bean soup with kale pesto, moving straight on to the Indian spiced smoked haddock chowder, even though it was a steep £12.50.

My friend made a beeline for the root vegetable gratin with sweet potatoes, fennel, celeriac, squash, cream, garlic and North Aston organic leaves (£9.50)

Enjoying the home-made bread and butter (£2) while we waited, it is an easy space to relax and unwind in, catch up with friends or pass the time, but our food arrived in no time at all. And it was a real treat.

The chunks of smoked haddock were perfectly cooked and generous, the surrounding chowder thick and comforting with little flakes of herbs and chunks of potato that actually tasted of something.

More seasoning would have been nice but then I’m a hardened Scot, so believe that salt makes most things taste better.

The gratin was another triumph, if rather simple to behold, oozing with cheese, piping hot, the veg nicely soft but dense, the sauce strong enough to carry the dish, the accompanying salad sharp enough to contrast, all disappearing with a final wipe of bread absorbing the last smear of sauce.

But our biggest dilemma still faced us – which gateau to eat? Could I have my cake and eat it? The array on the counter was impossible to decide between. The poor man waiting to serve us nearly gave up the ghost entirely as we umm-ed and ahh-ed, finally picking a slice of the blueberry and almond cake (£3.50) and a chocolate brownie, washed down with some strident and beautifully decorated coffee (£3).

It was therefore reluctantly that we stepped back out into the Arctic landscape of North Oxfordshire to battle the elements to the car park, like eskimos emerging from an igloo after a particularly good fish supper.

But the beauty of The Yurt is that, as the menus change every month and everything is seasonal, fresh and local, they aim to keep their regulars, locals and fans on their culinary toes. If that’s the case I can’t wait for spring.