Ross Buchanan was serving cocktails to me — and to rather a lot of other people — at Brown’s and the Duke of Cambridge longer ago than either of us might care to remember. Following that, he shook his way round the world, so to speak, during four years of global travel financed by work in bars. A good time for that, he recalls, with a misty look of recollection in his eyes — those being the days when to be a mixologist (as they weren’t then called) was to be one hip dude, owing to Tom Cruise and Cocktail.

Back in Oxford, the Magdalen College School alumnus joined the family lighting business, an international concern which has numbered (for instance) Marks & Spencer among its clients. Wife Maia, with whom he has sons, four and six, plays an important role in this today. During leisure hours, he built a solid name for himself as a cricketer.

Now, in a return to the preoccupations of his youth, he has become the proud owner of a new restaurant. Florio Bar and Kitchen opened three weeks ago in premises in Summertown that formerly housed La Dolce Vita, an Italian restaurant unchanged in style over two decades. His business partner is Rob Messinio, who runs Joe’s Cafe on the opposite side of Banbury Road.

In terms of decor, Florio is most attractive, as Jon Lewis’s pictures indicate. Airy, painted cool grey and with natural wood floors, lots of glass and conspicuously good lighting (of course), Florio could hardly contrast more sharply with the stygian gloom of its predecessor. The upstairs bar supplies a significant part of the appeal: cocktails (again, ‘of course’) loom large here, but — Ross being a real ale buff — there is as well a draught bitter from the Shotover brewery, which also makes a stronger bottle-conditioned beer sold under the Florio label.

Visiting last Wednesday, Rosemarie and I found Ross on the customers’ side of the bar and among the punters an old friend who has become (like so many) a ‘regular’ in very short order. He was there tonight booking space for a party.

A drink? Ross’s invitation was delivered before we’d had sight of the cocktail list, so we can’t be accused of greed in going for two of the place’s premium £11.95 “ultimate classics”. (Most cocktails are £6.95.) My margarita featured Tres Generaciones Plata silver tequila; Rosemarie’s martini used Tanqueray Ten gin. Both were superb.

Having ordered dinner while we sipped, the pair of us shortly went downstairs to eat it. Armed with her phone-cum-camera, my companion was able to photograph most of the dishes we ate — which all look, as you can see, very appetising.

I started with one of the three ‘grazing boards’, as they are styled, all available in small or large size. Mine was the small smorgasbord. It featured buttery potted salmon with a fresh and lively taste, a generous rolled slice of maroon-coloured home-cured salmon, marinated anchovies in oil and a chunk of superb smoked eel, with caper berries and beetroot slaw. There was also excellent sourdough bread.

For Rosemarie there was a twice-baked cheese and parsley soufflé, made with a full- flavoured cheddar and accompanied by a watercress salad and (happy touch) slow-roasted tomato and sherry jam.

Next came one of the most enjoyable main course dishes I have eaten in a long while. This was a generous piece of skin-on cod. lightly cooked to a shiny opalescence, teamed with big, juicy mussels in a saffron broth, slightly crunchy thin slices of leek and samphire, a naturally salty rock plant of the carrot family that is ideal with fish.

Rosemarie went for kedgeree, which here comes in the approved form with smoked haddock (roasted in this case), saffron rice, onions, egg (poached rather than sliced boiled) and, crucially, curry powder. The less traditional addition of sultanas was not to her taste, but these were easy enough to remove. We drank a refreshing white wine (trebbiano/grechetto, Masseo) from Umbria.

A warm chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream completed Rosemarie’s meal, while I had cheese (stilton and a creamy Somerset blue) with gooseberry chutney and oatmeal biscuits. Glasses of Clos L’Abeilley sauternes supplied a touch of luxury.

Florio is open throughout the day. Between 10am and noon brunch is served, when that kedgeree is joined by, among other dishes, scrambled eggs, a lavish fry-up and a swanky way with beans on toast. Afternoon tea, between 3 and 5pm, features smoked salmon sandwiches and fine cakes.

In a nutshell, something for everyone. Which is why everyone is there.