Our reviewers find the winner of the Dining Pub of the Year title at the 2023 Cheshire Life Food & Drink Awards is a place that satisfies all tastes, from pizza-lovers to fine-diners.

We drove through leafy Cheshire lanes to the rural surroundings of the award-winning converted barn restaurant. The entrance is through a private, heated garden, with an eye-catching glowing pizza oven in its own covered kitchen. There was a busy chef raking the sparking logs and expertly wielding a pizza peel, surrounded by a crowd of happy people enjoying a pre-wedding party. It was a great introduction to the blend of sophistication and rustic charm that personifies The Chester Fields.

Great British Life: The welcoming Chester Fields with its warm Cheshire brick dining room. (c) John Allen PhotographyThe welcoming Chester Fields with its warm Cheshire brick dining room. (c) John Allen Photography

From checking out the website to reading the menu, it becomes clear this is a place deserving of the awards it has won for its commitment to keeping sources and suppliers as local as possible. Head chef George Adine told me of his childhood spent at his grandfather's home just up the road. He knows the area inside out and it shows in the quality of his produce and the enjoyment he gets out of talking engagingly about developing dishes from farm to fork.

He cooks with all his senses, particularly with his tastebuds, and his seasonings are very sound. He is enjoying the challenges of running a kitchen that starts early and finishes late, taking in weddings, hog roasts and barbecues, and hosting large and small celebrations both indoors and in the garden. He takes inspiration from local suppliers to develop his menu and is looking forward to spending a week with chef Tom Kerridge in the near future. No doubt he will bring plenty of ideas back to energise this versatile venue.

Great British Life: Fresh from the pizza oven. John Allen PhotographyFresh from the pizza oven. John Allen Photography

There really is something for everyone here. The pizza oven with its array of unusual options (The Pepper Pig, The Filthy Beast, The Mariachi...) is a big clue. We would love to have snaffled a taste or two, but our table awaited us. So we went inside, past these temptations and were warmly welcomed and shown to our seats, which apparently are the location of the altar for those lucky enough to get married here. The layout of the barn gives many options for all sorts of celebrations, from a lunch or dinner for two to a wedding for many, many more. The warm Cheshire brick, the stylish lighting and the quirky illustrations and decorations, including a Rolls-Royce engine in the shape of a coffee table, create an enjoyable and unpretentious atmosphere.

I was brought a refreshing Aperol spritz to sip while perusing the menu. A brisk trot through the wine menu soon brought me back to walk on a loose rein as I savoured the humour of the descriptions. Whatever your tipple, this wittily written list is for drinking for fun. Yes, you do get a little bit of education thrown in but it's completely painless. And entertaining. The sommelier Paul Connolly, has rather an awesome background via the Arkle restaurant at the Grosvenor and Cabbage Hall. A chat with him will enhance your evening, and the wine will enhance your meal. We enjoyed glasses of crisp South African Chenin Blanc, a delicious Spanish Artesa Rioja that was batting well above its weight and a Roos Estate Shiraz with rather less of the peppery black cherry and blackberry fruits than it promised.

Great British Life: Wood-fired, chorizo jam doughnut. John Allen PhotographyWood-fired, chorizo jam doughnut. John Allen Photography

Having determined that it was humanly impossible to eat pizza as well as all the other delectable dishes tempting us from the menu, I comforted myself with the prospect of the chorizo-jam-filled, wood-fired doughnut, oozing with mozzarella and a fiery chorizo filling, glistening with a pungent garlic butter and herby glaze (£7.50) – a unique and delicious dish and I thoroughly recommend you consider it.

The glow from the compressed watermelon (£6.50) matched the roseate sunset we could see through the windows. Compressing the watermelon enhances and intensifies the flavour while removing water. The pepperiness of the rocket, the saltiness of the olives and feta, plus an extremely aromatic olive oil dressing was a perfect summer dish.

Great British Life: Compressed watermelon with Greek feta, Kalamata olives, rocket and garden mint dressing. John Allen PhotographyCompressed watermelon with Greek feta, Kalamata olives, rocket and garden mint dressing. John Allen Photography

The kitchen smokes its own mackerel, which here was made into a well-balanced pâté, sharp with citrus, topped by ribbons of pickled cucumber and sitting on a generous slice of sourdough (£6.75). Fresh and well seasoned, it was difficult to choose between this and a salt-baked beetroot starter, with green apple and toasted hazelnuts, topped with whipped goat's cheese.

Moving on to the main dishes, there was no question my first choice would be the Hayrack Farm lamb rump (£19.50), accompanied by delicious, small hasselback potatoes supplied by Massey's, a Cheshire farm with a fine reputation. Heritage carrots of varying colours had a perfect bite and the ruby port and mint reduction bathed the delicious lamb rump with even more flavour.

Portions are generous and the chunk of Asian pork belly (£18) was tasty and delicious, complemented by the sweet and sour gingery dressing that coated the stir-fried vegetables and pak choi. I would have enjoyed a little more sauce with this but the flavours were exemplary.

We also tried the freshest piece of cod loin sat atop a melange of diced fennel and chorizo (£17.50). The fennel and chorizo were a flavourful accompaniment to the juicy flakes of fish, balancing delicacy with intensity.

Great British Life: Lemon posset, raspberry coulis and shortbread biscuit. John Allen PhotographyLemon posset, raspberry coulis and shortbread biscuit. John Allen Photography

As we had enjoyed our selection of savoury dishes and were comfortably replete, the pizzas were going to be for another day. The Fun-Guy pizza with a massive portobello mushroom, truffle oil, parmesan and homegrown herbs reminded me of a joke too rude for the august pages of this publication, so we turned our attention to the wood-fired dessert pizza pie (£15). I'm so pleased we did. It was utterly delicious and made for sharing. The topping was a mixture of raspberries and apples infused with Weetwood raspberry gin and crunchy toasted oat and almonds, which became a fusion of the best pizza and the most delicious fruit crumble. I'm also extremely glad we found some space to squeeze in the lemon posset with raspberry coulis (£6.25). Slathered onto the lightest little shortbread biscuits, the sharpness and creaminess of the posset and coulis on the crisp, sweet biscuit was a great finale to an excellent meal.

Aficionados of Cheshire gin distilleries will recognise the presence of the award-winning Weetwood brewery and distillery, both in the cooking and the shelves of the well-stocked bar. As a great lover of single malts, I simply had to try their latest expression – 'The Cheshire Single Malt English Whisky'. It was elegant and light with baked apricot and butterscotch notes and rounded off a very enjoyable evening.

The Chester Fields is an evolving restaurant with ambition and delightful staff with great personalities. There are plans for an extension to include rooms added on to the restaurant – a great idea for those who are travelling the distance for a big celebration, or just a lovely place to stay. I can't wait.

Sandfield Farm, Chester Road, Chester CH2 4JR 01244 303100; thechesterfields.co.uk