Onward and upward is the message, as the increasingly confident and energetically driven Artichoke continues on its way. Taking over the building next door has helped, with an open-to-view kitchen adding to the entertainment value of this Buckinghamshire barnstormer. Laurie Gear’s cooking has been liberated, allowing big-city techniques and a proper respect for the seasons to buoy up highly intricate dishes such as charred fillet of Cornish mackerel with Isle of Bute seaweed jelly, pickled mushrooms, pomelo and brown shrimp cracker (‘a plethora of flavours’) or a ‘lovely piece of Chiltern venison’ partnered by venison salami, young beets, horseradish mousse, sprout tops and sloe gin sauce. Desserts also hit the spot – perhaps blackberry and apple mousse with hazelnut sponge and blackberry sorbet. Service is ‘superb’, the wine list includes many fascinating tipples, and the lunchtime tasting menu is a bargain for local foodies.