THIS country inn in the mainly National Trust-owned village of Coleshill was always a real locals' pub with its bar with ales drawn directly from the cask, open fires and stone floors.

And it still is, although it has been taken over by a talented chef, Richard Terry, and his fiance Shelley Crowhurst, who takes care of the restaurant and bar.

The Radnor Arms was the old smithy for the Coleshill Estate. There is a plaque high on the wall for Earl Radnor, Berks the county the village used to be in. The postal address is now Swindon.

The latest change came about recently and already diners are booking in advance and it was a full house on the Saturday evening when we arrived, having thankfully reserved a table.

After ordering some Waylands Smithy ale we perused the printed menu and the specials board in the bar. It's a great eclectic mix of real food but at reasonable prices. There was fish, like sea bass at the £11 mark, locally sourced meat, and options for vegetarians too.

We were there about 20 minutes early but were given the option of ordering straightaway or enjoying the bustling atmosphere in the bar. We decided to eat sooner, both ordering the mussels in a shallot, garlic and white wine sauce a starter portion was £5.25 or you could have it as a main at £9.

After settling in the dining room with its wood fire and high ceiling I heard the mussels being tipped into the saucepan and a couple of minutes later turned around as the kitchen door opened to see clouds of steam as the chef poured the freshly cooked shells into our bowls. They were delicious and came with a bowl for the shells, hot water with lime to rinse our fingers, fresh bread and a spoon to scoop up the delicious sauce.

My husband's sirloin steak at £11.95 came perfectly rare a rare feat for chefs these days and the meat was firm without the juices running bloody on the plate. My belly of pork with beans and chorizo sausage for £10.50 was raised at Kelmscott just down the road and the crackling was crisp. The condition of both our meat dishes proved they were well reared and hung. We had lovely vegetables included grated carrot, greens and red savoy cabbage with bacon.

House wine was reasonably priced at £3.25 a 175ml glass Pinot Grigio with the mussels and Grenache Shiraz with the pork.

Our meals came to £48.60 including drinks great value for food so well prepared.

I liked it so much I took my friend Claire there a few nights after as they had her favourite dish of all time on the menu gnocchi with Dolcelatte sauce for £8.50. It more than met with her approval. This time I had battered haddock with hand-cut chips, home-made tartare sauce that was deliciously rich with capers and garlic and a small salad for £8.50. There were no disappointments on the second sitting.

Radnor Arms

Coleshill nr Highworth

Tel: 01793 861575