A damp grey day is brightened by award-winning food at The Three Oaks.

It’s all very well aiming to cook seasonally using what’s in today’s market.

But really - in February? Glancing at the menu at The Three Oaks in Gerrards Cross, my eye catches on baked swede, pickled carrots, celeriac remoulade, fennel purée… which sounds less than exciting.

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But here’s the thing: A good chef can work wonders by clever cooking and artful marriage of ingredients, and our midweek lunch on a damp February day proves to be memorably delicious.

Ealing Times:

The Broccoli & Burrata

Accolades keep arriving for The Three Oaks.

It has won its Michelin Bib Gourmand every year since 2015 and appeared in the Good Food Guide since 2017.

When we walk in we find the gastro-pub winning the best accolade of all with its good number of diners giving the appearance of regulars who love the place.

Ealing Times:

The hake

The old pub was transformed when Henry and Katherine Cripps took it over in 2011, with Katherine giving the interior the calm, understated-chic styling which is also a hallmark of their other two venues, the White Oak in Cookham and No 5 London End in Beaconsfield.

First we order the bread basket, often an indicator of talent.

Pain rustique, harvest bloomer and house sourdough served warm with two spreads - roast red pepper hummus, and harissa and roast garlic butter - are a dream combo of crunch, crumb and great flavours.

My starter is charred broccoli and burrata with hazelnut pesto and black onion ketchup, beautifully presented and a delicious mix of flavours and textures.

Her crispy baby squid is the crispiest ever, my fellow diner claims, with a light, non-oily batter, chorizo mayo, sweet pickled pepper, crispy chorizo slices and sherry gel adding a flavoursome punch.

It looks good too.

Ealing Times:

The bread basket

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For the main event she is mightily pleased with the rich flavours of beef ragu with hand-rolled tagliatelle, roast garlic purée and puffed parmesan, with a side dish of honey and balsamic roasted beetroot.

My choice of herb-crusted hake is cooked to perfection and is attractively presented on a bed of fennel purée and charred radicchio, with a tingly pickled fennel and orange salad to liven up the show. It comes with splendid triple-cooked chips.

We share a dessert of a light sticky toffee pudding given a makeover with torched plum chunks, a tart plum sorbet, and a fab sesame seed tuille.

The service throughout is friendly and attentive, relaxed yet professional.

Ealing Times:

The sticky toffee pudding

Besides the a la carte there is also a modest set menu at very good prices, while the Sunday roast has been voted in the UK's Top 50.

The wine list is a distinctive offering thanks to Henry’s early background at the Groucho Club and as a wine tasting organiser, alongside real ales, draught beers and cocktails.

Creative enough to be exciting but not over-the-top whacky, with skilful cooking, the food at The Three Oaks at Gerrards Cross certainly merits those accolades.

* The Three Oaks, Austenwood Lane, Gerrards Cross SL9 8NL