Jay Raynor : The Observer : 26th October 2008 - The Highlights

J Baker's is a very good restaurant serving generally inventive, flavourful food at a really decent price - £27.50 for three courses. If there were more places like this in Britain's towns and cities, there would be a skip in my step and a song on my lips and a killer scar on my chest from where they'd gone in to perform the heart bypass on account of my overindulgent eating habits.

One of my companions started with the shin of beef, which had been long and lovingly braised in a luscious burgundy and came in its own little pot, flanked by two Japanese-style ceramic spoons each containing a perfect oyster in a shallot vinaigrette. Another starter of potted duck with its own liver, essentially a terrine, came crusted with pistachio and was proof that this was a kitchen that has all the essentials sewn up. It was balanced and rich without being overwhelming.

The best of the mains was gamey pieces of butter-roasted partridge were tender and came with wild mushrooms. Grilled calves' liver had a good char and was partnered with bright sweet-and-sour plums.

At the end there was a homely Granny Smith apple pie with crumbly pastry and a plate of roasted black figs with lavender honey and vanilla ice cream. Best of all was their riff on the Jaffa cake, all dark chocolate holding a shameless turban of orange chocolate-flavoured cream. I fear slates were involved with a few of these desserts, too, but by then I was up to my nipples in chocolate-orange loveliness and really didn't care. Which is the point. Because in the end what really matters is the food, not the thing it's sitting on.