It’s not often I find myself having dinner somewhere the Queen, Queen Mother and Kate Middleton (it’s where she stayed before the wedding) have frequented, but thanks to the kind invitation from one of my favourite travel PRs, here I was on a beautiful, balmy Wednesday evening at The Goring Hotel.

I’d been invited to sample the new seasonal menu by their chef, Shay Cooper. His signature style is fresh, understated and subtle, allowing flavours to come through. I couldn’t wait to try it. Hosted by ebullient MD David Morgan-Hewitt (what he doesn’t know about the Royal Family isn’t worth knowing, and he has many a bon mot on how to spot a high class escort in a luxury hotel – none at the Goring, thankfully), we had a drink in the bar overlooking the lawn first (I can’t call it a garden. It’s definitely the type of place that has a lawn).

The Goring is over 104 years old, and is still owned and run by the Goring family (yes, they came from Germany originally, and yes, they removed a troublesome letter ‘e’ from their surname – it was a tricky time back then). It is, to put it mildly, a classy joint; there is a lot of marble flooring, cream paintwork, voluminous silk curtains, and a bust of the Queen Mum herself.

The dining room is decorated by furniture designer David Linley and is light, airy and soothing. David ordered a delicious and zesty San Vincenzo, and we were off. From the list of starters, one stood out as being somewhat intriguing: Eggs Drumkilbo. This, David explained, was one of the Queen Mum’s favourite dishes, named after one of her estates in Scotland. Traditionally, it’s a blend of chopped lobster, eggs, prawns, mayonnaise, tomatoes, Worcestershire and Tabasco sauce, served under a layer of aspic. Here, it is served as a much lighter dish than it was in Elizabeth’s day (it included thinly sliced radish), and David described it as basically a posh prawn cocktail. Four our of our party of five ordered it immediately, and it was indeed light and delicate, tasting very faintly of the sea.

I chose roast Cornish cod, with broad beans, cockles, asparagus and Iberico ham as my main course, which came with a little bronzed pan of steamed new potatoes. The cod was almost translucent, chunky and flaky (in a good way, as opposed to describing, say, a person), the broad beans popped satisfyingly in the mouth, and the buttered potatoes were very moreish. In fact I feared I’d made a terrible un-Royal faux pas when they were set by my plate; I immediately tipped them all out onto the cod, then had a panicked moment as I thought they might have been for the whole table to share….thankfully, they were just for me. It’s like the staff KNEW me.

Dessert, or as they have it in these parts, pudding, was almost a bridge too far but I managed to force down black cherry parfait, meringue, seasame tuile, griottine and brownie. It was basically a small plate of lovely looking little bits of sugary things.

The evening ended on a quite fantastic piece of gossip about Rebekah Brooks (I could tell you but I’d have to kill you) and altogether The Goring was transformed, in my mind, into the kind of place where in another life I’d have had my graduation dinner, and possibly at some point may celebrate my 50th. The staff are impeccable (unlike many of my manners), the company was highly entertaining, and Shay just absolutely knows what to do with a seasonal fish or two. I like that in a man.

Atmosphere: 8/10

Value for money: I wasn’t paying but I’m sure it’s fantastic

Food: 9/10 – light and delicious, perfect for the time of year