Eighteen months on from my warm review of No 1 Ship Street, this characterful Oxford restaurant has received a welcome – wholly deserved – thumbs-up from the doyen of our trade, The Times’s Giles Coren.

“I am here to tell you the place is perfectly good,” wrote Giles last Saturday in an article that must have delighted owner Ross Drummond and his business partner, the chef Owen Little.

And if “perfectly good”, with its inbuilt contradiction, hardly sounds a ringing endorsement, this is explained by the fact that Giles confesses himself fed up with the search for perfection.

“The time has come to stand up not for the perfect but for the perfectly good,” he wrote.

It is a pity in a way that his hunt is off, because the cooking happily experienced by me and nine others – and at No 1 Ship Street – demonstrated that elusive perfection can indeed be found.

It came at a Bespoke Fine Dining evening from The Occasional Master Chef, showcasing the talents – rather the genius – of chef Alan Dann. Rehearsing the stellar career of this remarkable man would fill all the space on this page and, indeed, the one opposite.

In summary, this Scots-born chef kicked of his career in a three-year stint with Michel Roux Snr at the Waterside in Bray, after which he crossed to France for more three-Michelin-star experience in the kitchens of the legendary Michel Guerard, Jean-Michel Lorain, Pierre Gagnaire and Georges Blanc.

At the beautiful restaurant of the last, at Vonnas in eastern France, I enjoyed more than 30 years ago a Sunday lunch I shall never forget – as an occasion, I mean, though memories of the food have faded.

Back in England, Alan gained a Michelin star in 1997 at Lower Slaughter Manor. When he returned to France, he opened his own restaurant in Lyons, which gained two Michelin stars.

He has now been this side of the Channel again for nine years,working on new restaurant openings around the country.

Settled in Woodstock, he and his wife Sandy recently launched The Occasional Masterchef, offering gourmet dining in private homes and at other venues.

He has also put in shifts in local restaurants, including No I Ship Street, where his skills – says boss Ross – have been an inspiration to the younger kitchen staff.

The restaurant’s upstairs room, with its intimate, slightly clubby, atmosphere, seemed an ideal venue for a parade of his talents. This came in the shape – gourmand as well as gourmet – of a seven-course dinner (£85) with a matched wine, from No 1’s list, at each stage. Too much of a good thing? For me, definitely, but there were cleaned plates everywhere.

A welcoming glass of champagne (Bergere) was followed by a little cup of frothy Jerusalem artichoke cappuccino and truffle oil, with the evening’s weirdest wine, a Catalan blend of Macabeu and Penedes (Drier Than Garlic) that tasted like cider cut with the acidic home-grown plonk we drink in Greece.

Next came chunks of juicy native lobster, with slices of watermelon and mango served on nori toast. Alsatian pinot noir (Turckheim) was the happily tropical pairing.

Roasted breast of Cotswold woodpigeon (a tad tough) was teamed with sweet potato, wild mushrooms and white port consommé, with a lightish beaujolais (Domaine les Roches Bleues, Brouilly) to wash it down.

The fried seabass (left) with chorizo, basil and piquanté peppers was hit of the night for me, a classic strawberries-and-cream Provençal rosé proving an ideal match. I ate most of Rosemarie’s too.

I was also flagging by now but still ate most of the Kelmscott pork in three ways – the crisp belly particularly good – with heritage carrots, fondant potatoes and cider jus. Mount Etna was the source of the wine, sulphurous Etna Rosso.

British cheeses came with a lovely sweet Aussie riesling (D’Arenberg, The Noble Wrinkled).

Vanilla panna cotta with poached rhubarb and ginger wine was a delightful conclusion to this sumptuous meal, with glasses of English fizz (Hattingley Valley) for a thank-you toast to Alan when he appeared from the kitchen.

Go to no1shipstreet.com for further news of such evenings.

For further info on The Occasional Masterchef and Bespoke Fine Dining go to 07932975931 or theoccasionalmasterchef.co.uk