I’m rushing to write up this review of the Muddy Duck in Hethe because when word gets out, the national press is going to be all over it like a plague of town rats. And once they tell everyone, we won’t be able to get in for love or money. Well maybe for money.

Because never has there been so much hype over a pub opening that I can remember. Everyone wants to know what it’s like, if I’ve been and, if not, can they come with me? And consequently, never have I been in such demand. The question was though, could it live up to the hype?

But thanks to the tireless Nigel Harris and his wife Gemma, failure is not an option, and with the enormous success of their business Fresh Direct behind them, as well as Jamie Oliver’s Fabulous Feasts catering arm, they were in a good place to start their venture.

The Muddy Duck, to cut a long story short, is the village pub in Hethe which went under and was put up for sale. Nigel, who lives there, tried to find a buyer and ended up buying it himself. Having no knowledge of the hospitality industry and every possible connection where produce is concerned, he has even bought shares in several local farms, so that much of what arrives on your plate is often hours old.

But the stakes were high. Could the Harrises pull this one out of the bag or fall flat on their faces? The night we went, they not only pulled it out of the bag but could have done several laps of honour while they were at it. Like a cross between Daylesford and Jamie’s, the Harrises have strived hard to put their own personal stamp on the Muddy Duck. And succeeded, because while it’s tastefully kitted out, it’s also fun, an ingredient restaurateurs often forget.

When we arrived, the car park was full of a wonderfully eclectic array of Mustangs, Rollers, a Triumph TR3 and a Ferrari — and the clientele matched. The beer garden, complete with outdoor pizza oven, frames the scene.

Inside, we were led to our table, past a mouth-watering array of home-made breads, and the gathered waiting staff, who looked like a Tommy Hilfiger ad. The place was rammed, but as the tables are nicely spaced out, the barn like interior didn’t feel packed.

Once presented with the menus we were off like greyhounds out of a trap, the ‘nibbles’ alone leaving us drooling like Great Danes within seconds. Bring it on!

So, yes, we did have the home-made breads (the seeded flatbread was nothing short of miraculous), the pork scratching with chilli jam (£3) which arrived tall like bread sticks, the mini sticky sausages with chorizo (£3.50), and the pickled veggies (£2.50) straight from the local farms.

And, yes, we did try the Cornish crab, prawn and avocado salad (£7.50), the woodfired salmon and crispy black pudding (£8.50), the sticky short beef ribs (£8.50), the hours old Dave Markham’s Newton Purcell asparagus (you can feel the love) with an olive, caper and egg dressing (£8.50).

And, yes, we all oohed and aahed our way through those before tucking into the seafood risotto special (£7.50), the Jimmy Butler’s free-range pork belly (£16.50) which we felt didn’t need the chorizo accompaniment, the steak of the day (£20), which shut Mr Greedy up for a good half an hour, as well as the aubergine and mozzarella parmigiana (£12.50), which is always a great test of a restaurant, and overwhelmed me with its wonderfully smoky, melting, tomatoey mess — “Come to Mama” — and I started scribbling frantically on my napkin to encapsulate the sheer delight of all the dishes and the great experience of eating them.

After all this, unsurprisingly I declined dessert. But the others waded in regardless, like Atlantic swimmers rubbing whale fat into their thick white limbs, as they spooned the lemon tart with raspberries (£6), the apple, rhubarb and ginger crumble with bramble ice cream (£5.50) and the Toffeebocker glory (£6.50) into their mouths.

I’ve already booked to go back. and the Muddy Duck has got a large pin with a red flag sticking it on Oxfordshire’s culinary map.