I wish those Michelin Men would run a course to explain to us mere mortals what they are looking for when they award those coveted stars! I have spent many an hour, up and down the country, sampling Michelin fare, and just when you think you have got it sussed, they throw in a curve ball! And the Olive Branch Inn is just such a curve ball. Don't get me wrong, the food is wonderful, it is just that the surroundings don't quite match up to the delights on your plate. It is a very rustic pub, and I have had wonderful meals in rustic pubs before and assumed that the lack of recognition, from Michelin or indeed anyone else, was due to the lack of fanfare and finery of the establishment. Apparently not so! There is no fanfare or finery at the Olive Branch Inn, so much so that when we walked in my husband asked, where is the restaurant? You are not greeted at the door, and have to queue at the bar to get your table pointed out. The wine list is adequate, but not long, although it is backed up by a list of ‘specials’, the only problem being they are displayed on blackboards around the bar, so take note when you are queuing! The menu is fairly standard gastropub fare, although exceptionally well done. You start with a small loaf of warm home baked bread, ours was pumpkin. My starter was prawn and shrimp terrine with melba toast, very good but a little bland. My husband fared better on the flavour front with mackerel salad with potatoes and truffle oil. But my main course of belly of pork was to die for. Cooked to perfection so it melted in your mouth, with a very thin crust of perfectly crispy fat. Accompanied by the standard fondant potato and red cabbage, but all to a very high standard. My dessert of treacle tart was delightfully light, apart from a slight overcooking of the crust. But our attention was drawn to the next table, who were oohing and ahhing over the platter of desserts for 2. There was 4 of them, and they had ordered 2, but they could have got away with one between four, such was the generosity of the portions! When the bill arrived we were delighted to discover that you obviously have to pay for fanfare and finery. Excellent value for money considering the quality of the food. The back of the menu also shows you the locations of all the local producers where the food is sourced, so if you are on a foodie weekend you can scour the countryside the following day to recreate your dinner! We stayed across the road in Beech House, owned by the Olive Branch, in one of the six comfortable rooms, which again are very good value for money. Breakfast is served in the barn at the back of the pub which also serves as a private dining room, and is as hearty and high quality as you would expect. I do not begrudge the Olive Tree Inn their Michelin star for one moment, I am just left wondering what the establishments in the lowly county of Bedfordshire have to do to attract the attention of the great and the good in the Awards World!