IT must be a decade since I last ate at the Gumstool Inn so I was curious to see how things had changed when I went for lunch there this week.

Part of the Calcot Manor hotel and spa complex near Tetbury, it is set in beautiful Cotswold countryside – not that anyone could see much of it on such a wet and miserable day.

We were given a friendly welcome as soon as we stepped out of the rain and shown to our table, which, appropriately enough, was under a sign stipulating no riff raff.

Like many Cotswold hostelries, the Gumstool has flagstone floors and scrubbed wood tables. Otherwise the decor is modern but understated. Outside, if the weather is kind, there is a pretty beer garden.

Although the hotel is out in the sticks, the inn was pretty full on Saturday with diners of all ages. We perused the menu while we drank our aperitifs – a soft drink for me, a pint of Amstel for my partner.

As always, I was tempted by the goats cheese, this time accompanied by chutney, celery and walnut. The king prawns with pineapple, chilli and vanilla salsa and avocado also piqued my interest, but I eventually went for the squash veloute and mushroom arancini with truffle honey and seeds.

The soup was delicate, while the little rice balls were crispy on the outside and packed with mushroomy flavour on the inside.

My partner had chosen the twice-baked cheddar cheese soufflé and was quick to exclaim that he could really taste the cheese. A short while later he had demolished little plate of fluffiness and was wiping up away the last traces of the sauce with a piece of bread.

When our main courses arrived we realised the starters had set the tone for the rest of the meal.

I’d chosen the garlic and lemon marinated chicken salad with avocado because I’d already seen what delights were on the dessert menu and wanted to leave room.

But I was presented with a huge portion. It was tasty too. Chicken can so easily be made bland and uninteresting, but I found I could pick out the hint lemon and garlic. I was also pleased to see the salad was not awash with dressing and nestled in amongst the crunchy leaves and peppers were handmade croutons with a delightfully nutty flavour.

My partner chose a hearty organic shin beef chilli with mash and greens and it’s fair to say he was hooked from the first forkful.

Not overly spicy, it allowed the flavour of the tender beef to come through. Combined with the creamy mash it was the perfect comfort food for a rainy day.

There was a little delay before the waiter came over to take our dessert order, but in the end it was worth the wait. We were joined for the final course by our son, which allowed us to try three dishes.

He chose a sponge pudding, I went straight for the sticky toffee and my partner opted for a blackberry cheesecake. All were accompanied by the Calcot’s own homemade vanilla ice cream.

The cheesecake was light with a delicate fruit flavour, while the other two were rich and sweet and everything that a traditional British pudding should be.

The hotel is part of the Calcot Collection, a small group that includes Barnsley House and the Village Pub near Cirencester.

The original building dates back seven centuries and started life as a tithe barn owned by Kingswood Abbey.

When Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries, ownership was given to Nicholas Poyntz,who was Knight of the Shire for Gloucestershire. MP Sir Thomas Estcourt took it over at the end of the 16th Century and it remained in his family for more than 200 years.

For many years it was simply a large farmhouse but it was turned into a small country hotel with just seven bedrooms in 1984.

The Stone family bought it in 1995 and it has remained with them ever since,

Now it boasts 35 bedrooms and a spa. The hotel is also surrounded by 220 acres of land and raises its own beef cattle as well as using produce from other local suppliers.

As well as the Gumstool there is the Conservatory restaurant with its own kitchen. In fact there is a third kitchen dedicated to desserts.

The Conservatory is more formal while the Gumstool is billed by the company as offering “pub food, but it’s better than pub food.”

Both restaurants are led by executive chef Richard Davies, who worked for Gordon Ramsey and won a Michelin star at the age of 25.