MARC EVANS is bowled over by the welcome at the organic cafe and new bar at Daylesford Farmshop.

I must confess that before I arrived at Daylesford, I had my preconceptions about the place.

I had it down as a glorified farm shop, frequented by city dwellers looking for a sanitised taste of country life, arriving in their immaculate 4x4s with not a speck of dirt on them. An expensive haunt for ladies who lunch and then tell everyone about it on Facebook and Instagram. In short, I was suspicious.

So an invitation from the owners to sample the delights of its new bar and eat at its organic cafe, The Trough, gave me the opportunity to judge the place for myself. Had I been missing a trick all these years because of my irrational prejudices?

In short, yes. We were absolutely blown away by the quality of the food and drink, not to mention the service too, which was friendly, knowledgeable and, well...incredibly good fun.

First stop, after arriving to the sight of a magically fairy light-decorated tree, was the Legbar – named after a variety of chicken (hopefully, some distant relative of my favourite cartoon character Foghorn Leghorn). Stylish and slightly Scandinavian in feel, the Legbar has a tempting selection on cocktails and nibbles which we soon got stuck into. My Daylesford Virgin Mary (£6) was as good as I’ve ever tasted, nice and spicy with real depth of flavour (and it’s always nice to be asked how hot you want it), while my wife’s Bloody Mary (£9.50) was even nicer, thanks to the vodka. And the children loved their Green Garden (elderflower, apple, lemon, cucumber and mint) and Orchard Punch (apple, pomegranate, elderflower, lemon) mocktails (£6) – gulping them while washing down our selection of dips (£12), including a really interesting turmeric houmous and a very tasty smoked salmon pate. Aperitifs downed, it was time to take our table.

My son obviously took the name ‘The Trough’ literally, and almost dived headfirst into our shared charcuterie plate starter (£16). Very rude of him, but it did look delicious, with prosciutto, cured meats and olives, and it tasted as good as it looked.

Before leaving the house, I had made my mind up to have a steak. I had heard good things about the quality of the meat, and its organic credentials, and, well, it was a Saturday night...what could be better?

However, I couldn’t resist the sound of wood roast cod with brown crab, tarragon and clam sauce (£19). It was a superb dish, with moist, juicy, flaky cod (with a nice crispy skin) elevated by the rich brown crab meat spiked with clams. If I hadn’t warned the children earlier not to lick out the houmous bowl, that’s exactly what I would have done to my plate.

Luckily, my wife ordered the sirloin of Aberdeen Angus steak with sautéed potatoes and mustard and horseradish sauce (£29). That’s a hefty price, but from the one mouthful of beef I was allowed, it has ruined me for steak from anywhere else. Meltingly marbled, bursting with flavour, and as juicy as you could wish for, this was truly exceptional. Our faces made the sort of shapes and sounds that Gregg and John’s do just before they announce the winner of Masterchef. And the sauce was unctuously moorish too.

The purple sprouting broccoli (£5.50) we ordered to accompany our mains was a bit hit as well – even with children who normally have to be blackmailed or bribed to eat their greens.

The children loved their wood-fired pizzas (£13-£16), although my daughter was disappointed her four cheeses variety didn’t have a tomato sauce base.

They were not disappointed with the dessert though, although we made them share the rich dark chocolate Nemesis cake with creme fraiche (£8). Thankfully it was big enough for two little ones, otherwise they would have come to blows.

My wife meanwhile dived into an espresso martini (£9.50), which she has now declared to be her most favourite thing in the whole world. She spent the next 10 minutes Googling recipes for this liquid nectar.

A lovely night, wonderful surroundings, great ingredients and cooking of the highest quality – what more could you ask for?

Daylesford Farmshop & Café, Daylesford, near Kingham, Gloucestershire GL56 0YG