The wonderful summer heatwave was still in full swing as I eagerly took up an invitation to attend a theme night at a charming village pub in the Cotswolds.

Passing beautiful countryside, through the village of Blockley and over the railway line into Paxford, on a warm, light evening, I couldn’t have asked for a more pleasurable drive to begin proceedings. Everywhere looks better in the sun, but this part of the world is rarely anything other than eye-catching and on an evening like this, it is the English rural idyll many dream of.

I have visited in the past but it had been a lengthy period since I was last in Paxford. And the reason for my return? An evening at village pub, the Churchill Arms. A friend who lives just a stone’s throw from the pub kindly agreed to join me for the evening and we were greeted with a busy, buzzing pub, with drinkers filling the outside tables.

The Churchill was hosting its inaugural Curry & Cocktail night – an intriguing prospect I’m sure you’ll agree. When I received the invitation I thought to myself ‘yes, I like both of those things’ but I’m not sure I’d ever seen curry and cocktails paired together on the same menu too often, so I was interested to see how the courses and drinks would be paired.

The good news is that it works. Certainly judging by the full restaurant and the various oohs and ahhs heard throughout the evening, it was a hit.

We were greeted warmly and given a choice of table. We elected to sit near the open doors to the garden to allow a gentle breeze in – a lovely option and not one necessarily available too often in England, even in summer.

First up was some delicious little onion bhajis and cauliflower pakoras. Just a small bite to whet the appetite for what was to come, but the pakoras in particular were packed with flavour. The cocktail served with this was a mint and cucumber mojito, which was wonderfully light and refreshing.

The starter was a beautifully-presented smoked haddock kedgeree with tomato, peas, broad beans and curry sauce. I’ve made kedgeree in the past at home and it certainly didn’t resemble this wonderful creation. The fish was cooked to perfection and placed in the centre of a large white plate, surrounded by the other ingredients and sauce, which made for a striking result. The portion size was just about right too.

Our main course offered the first opportunity, or should that be difficulty, in choosing between two options on offer. I plumped for the lamb rogan josh while my friend chose the king prawn Thai curry so that we had the chance to sample a little of both.

It as hard to choose a winner but I felt if pushed, I would say that the lamb just about shaded it for me. The meat was tender and the sauce full of flavour. It was served with rice, curried aubergine and naan bread.

On to dessert and I was delighted to see that panna cotta was on the menu – I’m not always a dessert lover when I go out for a meal – but if I do extend to one, it is normally something light and refreshing such as this. I can’t see how people go through a starter and main with drinks and then order a huge, rich dessert like chocolate brownie or apple crumble. Well it seemed my luck was in, as the coconut panna cotta with grilled pineapple salsa and spiced syrup is exactly the sort of dish I would choose. Simply presented, it was a nice way to end a summer meal, and came paired with the perfect tropical cocktail ­– pina colada.

We were both impressed with the imagination of the dishes on offer and the presentation, particularly of the kedgeree, was top notch. Not surprising maybe, as head chef Nick Deverell-Smith trained under the likes of Gordon Ramsey and Marcus Wareing.

The Churchill is a wonderful village pub and real hub of activity in Paxford. A few years ago it closed down suddenly and residents were dismayed that they had lost this fantastic amenity. But after reopening it has gone from strength to strength and the team plan to follow up the Curry & Cocktail night with a string of similar events in the coming weeks and months.

Every village needs a good pub to bring people together and make it feel like a community, luckily Paxford has just that. It was an extremely pleasurable evening in the summer warmth and evening light bathing the Cotswold stone.

It was great to see residents showing their support for the evening, local pubs need the support of the community to thrive. I suppose pubs are a bit like heatwaves, you miss them when they’re gone.