ANYONE finding themselves a few hours away from completing Dry January and/or Veganuary last month would have done well to avoid the restaurant of a certain golf club just outside Oxfordshire’s northern border.

Feldon Valley, in the Warwickshire village of Lower Brailes, has undergone a major refurbishment of late, with The Kitchen restaurant being transformed. And to show off the skills of their executive head chef Darren Brown – a man with a Michelin star to his name in the past – they’ve started a regular Supper Club every couple of months, with a different theme each time.

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My wife and I were invited along to try the five-course Game Tasting Menu on January 31 (Brexit Day, coincidentally) with matching wines to accompany each dish, plus Champagne on arrival – an ideal way to either celebrate the UK leaving the EU, or to drown your sorrows, depending on your political persuasion.

I’m not a golfer myself, but I’ve always imagined that the quality of food at golf clubs was pretty low on the list of members’ priorities. Not so, according to the charming couple sat next to us – the husband had specifically switched allegiances to Feldon Valley because of the quality of the menu. And it’s difficult to argue that he didn’t make the right choice.

Game menus are, by their very nature, not for the faint-hearted. You need to like meat that actually tastes of meat, and not be scared of offal or the prospect of biting into a bit of shot.

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The last one I attended was preceded by a butchery demonstration involving a decapitated deer and several game birds. No such frivolities this time, but the starter certainly put down a marker – a duck heart skewered on a sprig of rosemary and served on a crunchy crouton, washed down with a glass of white (Gavi di Gavi Nuovo Quadro). As far as I’m concerned, duck offal is one of life’s great pleasures – it’s one of the highlights of a trip to the Perigord region of France, where they seem to eat everything but the quack – and this little morsel was a delicious way to start the feast.

Next up was a nod to Burns Night with partridge served with a haggis bonbon, neeps (in the form of baby turnips) and tatties (courtesy of the creamiest mash imaginable and some delicious, latticed game crisps – I could happily have eaten a bucket of these). The partridge was tender and the accompanying jus was rich and velvety. The Adobe Cabernet Sauvignon was a good match for the strong flavours of the dish.

This brought us to the halfway mark, and this was my favourite course – smoked mallard, braised leg tortellini and winter cabbage with consommé.

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The smoking of the pink duck breast was not overpowering, the earthy cabbage was spiked with salty shards of bacon, and the consommé – which could be poured over the dish or drunk straight from the glass, Bovril-style (don’t mix it up with the lovely Gerard Bertrand Pinot Noir) – was clear and full of meaty goodness. But the star was the tortellini – silky pasta stuffed with the most unctuous, rich, gamy filling – again, I could quite happily have scoffed a bucketful of them. One was simply not enough.

Last up on our meaty journey was Cornbury Estate venison loin, a savoury donut with a meaty filling, served with red cabbage, pureed parsnip, slithers of pickled apple, and a glossy, meaty gravy. The venison was tender and delicious, the parsnip sweet and comforting, and the cabbage and apple added sharp contrasting flavours and textures. The donut, though innovative and an interesting talking point, was a bit stodgy and could have done with a bit more filling.

Another lovely red, a Gran Logrado Rioja, held its own against the strong flavours.

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Pudding was a crumbly pastry tart with Yorkshire rhubarb, and a nod to confectionary of old with a quenelle of caramac ice cream.

Not too sweet, it was perfectly paired with a lovely Castelnau du Sudiraut Sauternes. I hadn’t normally been a fan of dessert wines, but this could have converted me.

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All in all, a delightful evening. Lovely company, great food and wine, in a superb, modern setting. A great concept, well-executed. Before we arrived, I feared that I would be stuffed and smashed by the end of the meal (I am a bit of a lightweight when it comes to the booze), but I was neither – a tribute to the top-notch portion control on display.