The Red Lion in Wooburn Green faces the ancient village green, with its circle of historic cottages and eating places and the River Wye running nearby. The inn has been at the heart of village life for generations. By the 1930s, the house next door was still the village blacksmith’s forge, and the inn (then called Red Lion Hotel) much smaller. The two were later combined.

Earlier this year The Red Lion had a complete makeover and is now a chic, spacious pub and restaurant. They took commendable care to preserve all the old features while creating an open and welcoming space.

At one end is the former blacksmith’s forge, with internal chimney still in place and a mass of ancient timbers. A low-ceilinged snug is at the far end, cosy with armchairs, perfect to while away the time with a pint or a cappuccino. In between is the open bar space, a mix of leather easy chairs and bar tables, leading into the restaurant.

“People are welcome to find the space that suits them,” explains general manager Lee Hyland. “They can relax in the bar with a drink or informal meal or have full service in the restaurant, with the same food menu in each.”

We tuck ourselves into a comfy banquette and peruse the menu. This is a ‘something for everyone’ place: breakfast, coffee and cake (£3) for peckish moments, plenty of light bites for lunch, charcuterie and seafood boards, or the full three-course menu. Perched on high bar stools nearby, a couple are tucking into a huge bowl of mussels (you get 1kg of mussels with a carafe of wine for £20). And the chef is happy to come out and make suggestions on vegan or any other preferences you may have.

We pass on the starters and my partner goes straight for a wintry warmer of slow cooked ox cheek with mustard mash and buttered kale. A meltingly tender, generous cut of beef is wreathed with crispy shallots - like onion rings but tastier and crispier. My choice is poached natural-smoked haddock on creamy mash with wilted spinach and a subtle but tasty spring onion butter sauce. The fish is beautifully cooked, a plateful of comfort.

Other menu options range from the nostalgic like fish and chips and ham hock with bubble and squeak, to the inventive.

More comfort is to come with my dessert of pear and blackberry crumble with Amaretti ice cream, the perfect homely treat. Even better, my haddock and crumble courses are among the menu items marked with a tick, meaning they cost £16.95 for two courses, excellent value for this quality. I steal a taste of my partner’s pud, a deeply dark brownie with ice cream, its richness pleasingly offset by tart cherries. A truly satisfying meal in friendly surroundings.