The Milestone Hotel, opposite Kensington Palace, is one of west London's most sumptuous buildings, ornate and grand and befitting of the celebrities and Royalty who are rumoured to stay there.
Inside, the oak panels, quirky cartoon sketches, dark patterned carpets and gentlemen in cravats reading the Daily Telegraph add to the sense that one has stepped into a 19 th century country pile.
Slightly stuffy it may have been, but it's not every day a young, impoverished journalist like me is going to find himself immersed in such opulence, and a couple of stiff gin and tonics in the lounge, sipped under a portrait of what was no doubt a decorated cricketer - WG Grace perhaps - and I was soon feeling more than at one with my lavish surrounds.
After some bar snacks (which bizarrely included my favourite Twiglets), we were led through to the hotel's Cheneston's restaurant, recently taken over by prodigious Canadian chef Ryan O'Flynn.
He arrived six months ago from the hotel's sister establishment, the award-winning Summer Lodge in Dorset, with a brief to contemporise the menu while retaining it's British core, and a glance at his new, Summer offerings offered immediate encouragement.
I wrestled between the Earl Grey tea-smoked wild sea trout, which comes with an oyster, leeks, fennel and an orange and cucumber relish (£16) and the unusual combination starter of pork belly, Orkney scallop and black pudding (£18).
I settled on the latter, which turned out to be the most exquisite a surf 'n' turf dish I'm ever likely to enjoy.
My companion was seduced by the pan-fried foie gras with a South-West snail grand-mere accompanied with Morel mushrooms and green almonds (£25), which, by his slightly slurred account, was even better.
By now we were both in an intoxicated haze of culinary utopia, our giddy state, or certainly his, helped, no doubt, by the gorgeous Californian white wine picked from a gargantuan and, in some cases, mind-bogglingly expensive, list by the chef's delightful fiancé, somellier Lia Poveda.
Both of us went with fish for the mains, but were sorely tempted by O'Flynn's trademark trio of Salt Marsh lamb, including a loin, shoulder and sweetbread (£26) or the assiette of White Park beef (£38).
Any pangs of regret subsided with the first mouthful of the Cheneston's staple pot roasted Dover sole (£38), which is simmered in a copper pot and was so fresh that I felt compelled to check for signs of life. A luscious light wine and mushroom sauce made it a dish to take the breath away.
My companion opted for the North Sea turbot with New Forest river crayfish (£38) and was as enthused with his dish as I was with mine.
It was hard to imagine by now how a) things could get better and b) if they could, how we'd manage to enjoy them with our innards now dangerously stretched, but get better they did: I defy anyone to try the strawberry soufflé (£9) and deny it's the best pudding they've ever had. Even my companion, notoriously fussy, concurred.
Soufflé is, apparently, notoriously difficult to perfect but Ryan O'Flynn did just that.
I left dressed as the same mid-twenties journalist that I'd arrived as but, after a meal fit for a King, left feeling like one.
Cheneston's Restaurant at The Milestone Hotel
0207 917 1010