I consider myself particularly fortunate that pals Debbie and Stephen Dance bought themselves a dinner for four at their local in an auction of promises to raise money for Diamond Jubilee festivities in the Baldons.

That’s because they courteously invited Rosemarie and me along as their guests when their promise was honoured, and in so doing introduced us to smashing pub whose excellent food deserves to be made known to a wider public. Which is what I am doing here today.

The Seven Stars, overlooking the wide and lovely village green in Marsh Baldon, has had an up and down history in recent years. For a time, it was actually shut and looked like remaining so. Then a saviour came along in the shape of David Harding, who lives in Toot Baldon. Recognising the pub’s value to the community, he bought the place and installed managers. Since last October these have been Olly and Carrie Clifford Brown — he a marvellous chef (as I discovered) and she a cheery presence front of house, where further cheer is now supplied by 19-week-old beagle puppy Piper. Olly and Carrie met while working on catering at Tower Bridge. Having married last autumn, they moved to Marsh Baldon hot foot (and perhaps hot everything else) from their honeymoon.

Word has steadily spread since then concerning Olly’s skill in the kitchen. The quality of the beers, including local ales from Hook Norton and the White Horse Brewery, has also been earning warm approval. In a new bid for weekday lunchtime custom, the Clifford Browns have just started a prix fixe menu, priced at £13.50 for two courses and £17 for three. The one I saw featured roasted tomato soup or Brixham mussels to start, black bream, roast belly of pork and artichoke and lovage risotto as mains, and cheese (Cashel blue), chutney and crackers, or lemon posset with pistachio caramel shortbreads, to finish.

Looks good, eh? So did the evening menus flourished at us when we arrived last Wednesday, palates enlivened by glasses of rosé in the sunshine of Debbie and Stephen’s garden. Besides what we ordered there were starters like fried squid and oysters (£9 for six), mains including butter roasted chicken for two and herb gnocchi, and puddings of hot chocolate fondant and that lemon posset.

I began with razor clams, a special. Ever a bit chewy, these are always worth eating, though, for their fresh taste of the sea, complemented here by lots of sliced garlic and parsley. The other starters enjoyed variously by my companions were steamed clams with samphire, a terrine of organic duck, rabbit and ham hock with spiced pear chutney, and tomato soup with basil and mozzarella, which amused Rosemarie through its being elaborately poured at the table from a receptacle like a teapot.

My main course was roasted fillet of pearly white turbot, with purple sprouting and potted brown shrimp butter. It was delicious but not especially generous (a reflection, of course, of the high price of this fish). Certainly, I was eyeing with envy Debbie’s big chunk of fried sea trout, with buttered clams and samphire, and Rosemarie’s London Pride battered fish and chips (pictured) made, I think, with coley. (She is out of contact as I write, on deadline.) Only non-fish person was Stephen. While generously equipping the rest of us with eminently fish-friendly Chablis (Jacques Descharmes, 2009) he ate roasted loin and poached fillet of Little Wittenham lamb with tarragon, greens and fennel purée. To finish came Eton mess (scrummy), lemon posset with pistachio shortbreads and, for me, Keen’s cheddar, Oxford College White, Oxford Blue and Lincolnshire Poacher cheeses. Then it was off to the bar and cuddles with Piper. . .