Walk into the Three Crowns at Brinkworth and almost immediately you become aware, if you weren’t before, that it is at the heart of a farming community.

The cosy bar and the dining areas are like a cross between a museum of ancient agricultural implements and an art gallery with farming as its main theme.

And there are cattle everywhere, from the life-size model of a calf to the salt and pepper shakers on the tables.

Somehow it’s not surprising when the menu informs you that many of the main ingredients are supplied by the farms that surround the village.

After a frustrating Saturday trying to sort out the automotive nightmare that is our car, we decided to treat ourselves to the works.

Arriving for once in time for a drink in the bar before being seated at our table, we took our time over the menu.

I was very tempted by the seared Scottish scallops with Parma ham but eventually decided on the Earl Grey smoked salmon with apple, garden beetroot and horseradish. It proved to be a very good choice. I love smoked salmon but I’d never tried it with apple.

The tiny straws of sharp yet sweet fruit were a great accompaniment to the fish and the horseradish added another tangy element without overpowering the delicate flavour. A great appetiser.

My husband went for the mussels in a creamy garlic and white wine sauce. Moules mariniere is a favourite of ours and we’ve cooked it many times over the years, as well as sampling restaurant versions.

Would it be up to our expectations? Indeed it was. Eating mussels can be a messy operation and a poubelle de table would have been handy.

At first he found himself depositing shells on his bread plate, but as soon as the server spotted it she asked if we wanted a dish for them. In fact the service over all was good and attentive.

The best thing about this dish is that it’s really two in one – the mussels themselves and then the lush wine, cream and herb sauce.

We were early diners, the first to sit down at 6pm. But gradually the pub and the dining area started to fill. There were reserved signs on most of the tables and there was a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

It wasn’t long before our main courses arrived.We’d gone for glazed beef cheek with mash and a bourguignon garnish as well as a proper steak and real ale pie with mash, buttered vegetables and a beef jus.

“This is lovely,” my husband said after taking his first forkful of the beef. It was flaked and had been rolled and perched atop some garlicky mash. The result was meltingly tender and flavoursome.

My pie, made by the chef, was the real McCoy. None of that pie crust lid on a dish rubbish. The rich and tasty contents were encased in proper shortcrust pastry.

Our hunger sated, we probably should have stopped there, but the lure of the pub’s signature dessert – a Snickers concoction – was too strong.

A sumptuous pile of salt caramel ice cream, chocolate mousse, peanut brittle and peanut parfait arrived in front of us and I have to report it was sublime - much nicer than a Snickers bar.

The Brinkworth Blue cheese plate, with honey bread, candied walnuts, figs and port syrup was another reason for staying.

Produced just around the corner from the pub at Brinkworth Dairy, the blue appears on the menu with the Wiltshire Loaf cheese, which is used in dishes like the macaroni side and the Caesar salad.

The fruit and nuts matched the strong flavour of the blue and the honey bread was perfect to mop up the crumbs .

By the time we had demolished the final course the pub was busy, with many of the tables taken up.

We were tempted to linger for a digestif and to soak up the friendly atmosphere, but chores were waiting for us at home, so somewhat reluctantly, we paid up and departed.

Our bill, including three pints of lager and a pint of shandy, came to £85.

Not the cheapest, but definitely worth it. We plan to return.