It was headline news across the national press when Ryan Simpson walked out without warning from The Goose at Britwell Salome. With him went his partner and sous chef Liam Trotman and the rest of the kitchen team. Some of the waiting staff quit too. The Goose necessarily had to close for a time. A newsworthy ruction indeed, then.

This was especially so because just three weeks earlier, 27-year-old Ryan had won back the Michelin star that had previously been in place at The Goose under Michael North and his successor in the kitchen Matthew Tompkinson. I was among those who had sung the praises of his exceptionally good, impeccably sourced (and sauced) dishes.

Ryan alleged that owner Paul Castle considered some of them “too poncy” and wanted something more on the lines of ‘pub grub’. Paul, for his part, said he just wanted the place to be rather more accessible to locals, while maintaining the gastro-pub status recognised in the star.

The irony is, with the Michelin system working the way it does, that The Goose gets to keep the star for the rest of the year (and, to be fair, would appear to be living up to it with chef John Footman, previously with Michael North at his starred establishment, The Nut Tree at Murcott). Ryan, meanwhile, has been obliged to begin to work for another. On the evidence of what we found at a recent Sunday lunch, it will surely not be long before he is honoured again.

Ryan’s new setting for his team — and this includes the delightful, well-informed Esme in charge front of house — is a picturesque 18th-century country pub, with a garden and views to delight, at Shiplake, near Henley. Formerly, it was the The White Hart, with a somewhat chequered history. The decision was made to start afresh under a new name; ‘Orwells’ honours writer George Orwell, who lived in the village as a boy. Actually he was still Eric Blair in those days, but to have called it Blairs might have been seen to have celebrated the career of an altogether more discredited ‘left wing’ figure.

Rosemarie, her mother Olive and I drove over in the sunshine, car roof down, through the leafy South Oxfordshire lanes beyond Watlington. This put us in a happy, relaxed mood even before we found the comforts of the restaurant — its decor managing to be at once fresh and traditional, with such courtesies as the day’s range of newspapers laid out on the bar — or tasted the delights of Ryan’s food. Before describing what we enjoyed, let me take a moment or two to explain what Orwells offers, in fulfilment of its pledge to supply food fashioned only from the best produce, much of it sourced, as the website puts it, from “fishermen, farmers and foragers”. In one section of the restaurant called The Room (which is certainly what it is!) you can order from Tuesday to Saturday from a menu containing a number of Ryan’s more show-offy dishes. Poncy? If that is what you would call starters of crispy Berkshire pork belly with lobster, soya and spinach, or local rabbit Scotch egg with liquorice lentils, apple, mustard and butternut? Possibly.

Lovers of plain and simple cooking might also raise an eyebrow at hay-baked Chiltern Hills muntjac with rosti potatoes, marsh samphire and Lady’s Smock, and roasted Brixham plaice fillet with wild orache, artichokes, Saint George mushrooms, with sultana and ver jus sauce. (They might also be wondering what Lady’s Smock and wild orache are. The first is a flower whose leaves taste similar to watercress; the second is a plant that grows, the Internet tells me, “on rubbish, dunghills and [phew!] in kitchen-gardens” and is used instead of spinach.) But Ryan does do simple, too, since he wants Orwells to appeal to foodies and non-foodies alike and, indeed, to pubgoers who might fancy pork scratchings, a ploughman’s or pickled eggs (quails’, as it happens) with their pint of Brakspear’s beer.

Nothing could have been more traditional than the succulent roast meats served to my two carnivorous companions, both of whom elected to choose from the good-value set Sunday lunch menu. Well, perhaps I should exclude from that the Yorkshire pudding that came with Rosemarie’s pork (though the supply of this with meats other than beef — even chicken — is now a very widespread practice). She said she would far have preferred a good dollop of stuffing. There was, naturally, a full range of condiments offered. Both she and her mum, who was enjoying a generous portion of roast beef, were given first-class vegetables: roast potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, carrot purée, pickled beetroot and cabbage.

Olive had passed on a starter but had been given — a charming touch we thought — a mini-serving, in an espresso cup, of the foraged nettle soup that Rosemarie had ordered. The nettles, Ryan told us, had been foraged in fields close to the pub, whose lovely garden commands an idyllic view across acres of rolling pasture. The soup’s deep, rich green reflected the fields’ early summer colour; its taste was likewise a fresh seasonal delight.

Starter for me was supplied by an animal that had feasted on the summer greenery — the rabbit rissoles, with a roughness to their texture, had an equally welcome slight gaminess to their flavour. I continued with seared Torbay sea bream with chargrilled asparagus, crushed potatoes and sauce vierge (lemon and butter).

While Olive finished with an admirable sticky toffee pudding, Rosemarie and I shared some superb English cheeses: Cropwell Bishop Stilton; Sharpham Elmhurst, a cream-enriched cow’s cheese; and Withybrook soft goat’s cheese. They came with home-made crackers and chutney.

For all three of us, this was a super lunch.