MANY pubs and restaurants quickly become fully booked on Mother's Day, Father's Day and Bank Holidays, but during the course of a year many special days and anniversaries crop up, and finding a new place to dine can be hit and miss. Having recently dined at The Crown Chop House Diner in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, I can say, without a shadow of hesitation, that the beef served there is the best I have had in aeons.

I was with a small party and we had the following as a sharing menu: - For starters: Chop House smoked salmon on rye bread. Wye valley asparagus, vinaigrette and Nicoise salad.

- Mains: 30-day dry-aged rib of beef, onion jam, watercress, Josper grilled Cornish day boat mackerel, caramelised lemon. Also, little gem and salad cream, plus hand-cut chips and purple-sprouting broccoli accompanied by Jersey royals.

- Dessert: Lactose-free creme br�l�e. The highlight, as indicated, was the 30-day dry-aged rib of beef, cooked to perfection in the Josper oven (more on that presently). The salmon, smoked on the premises, was delightfully light in texture and flavour and married well with the asparagus and Nicoise salad.

One of our party had a lactose intolerance and the chef obliged by created the lactose-free creme br�l�e, which was very good, but I would have preferred the full-on cream, egg and normal sugar version.

In the High Street, in Amersham, the Crown's Chop House is a return to the style of eating which once existed in most coaching inns around Britain, featuring two breeds of beef of various cuts, British classics such as pies and sausage and mash, and seasonal salads. Specialising in grilled meats, The Crown Chop House uses a Josper oven - an enclosed barbecue perfect for roasting and barbecuing - producing stunning flavours and aromas.

The wines we chose, with the help of Maitre'd James, were: - White: 2008 Jean-Claude Dagueneau Domaine des Berthiers Pouilly-Fume, Loire, France.

- Red: Bouchard A�n� et Fils Monthlie Le Meix Bataille, 2008 Monthelie 1er Cru "Le Meix Bataille".

The kitchen team is led by David Hawkins, previously head chef at The White Oak in Cookham. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner while the bar serves food daily from 10am to 10pm. On weekdays there is a special two course lunch for �12 each. During the summer months (weather permitting) The Chop House serves lunch from the outdoor summer kitchen on Saturdays and Sundays. On Sundays they also serve roasts from the main kitchen.

Verdict: worth moving house to make this your local. Call 01494 721 541 or email