IF there's one thing guaranteed to get you through the hassle and hussle of the dreaded Christmas shopping it's the prospect of a slap-up lunch once you've finally finished.

And there's surely no better place to get tucking in than The One Elm pub and restaurant, a stone's throw from the gift-laden shops in picturesque Stratford upon Avon.

The One Elm, which is just yards from Shakespeare's birthplace on the outskirts of the town, is fast growing a reputation for being one of the hottest new 'in places' for top class dining.

And it's a reputation well deserved, with a bewildering and mouthwatering array of dishes.

We called after working up an appetite with a morning plundering for presents in the town, so feeling suitably festive, bypassed the regular menu - which in itself boasts gourmet, locally sourced specialities such as pan roasted cod, mussel & butternut squash Goan curry, free range chicken Kiev, skinny fries, pomegranate and carrot salad and an array of choices of steaks - and plumped for the new Christmas selection main course, but not before mixing and matching (just to be awkward) with starters from the main list.

My smoked haddock fishcakes with a pea mayonnaise was perfectly balanced - light, fluffy cakes with a sublime smokiness running through them, paired with a fresh, light mayo with that hint of sweet, fresh peas to cut through the luxurious richness of its partner.

My wife's beetroot and vodka cured gravalax with fennel salad both looked and tasted stunning, again maintaining a perfect balance between the rich earthiness of the beetroot marinade while not masking the subtle richness of the gravalax.

As for mains, well I'm a sucker for a roast turkey dinner with all the trimmings at pretty much any time of the year, so needed little excuse to head for full-on festive mode. I was rewarded with succulent, moist turkey, a deep-rich pan gravy and, of course, the full monty of extras. Perfection.

My better half went down the route of slow-cooked shoulder of Cornish lamb with roast squash and kale and a mint jus. Meat falling off the bone, beautiful presentation, and almost enough to make me wish I'd opted for the same. Almost.

I even managed to squeeze in a salted caramel chocolate tart with Chantilly cream, never thought I'd finish it, then took one taste before wolfing down every last morsel without a hint of guilt or regret. It's Christmas after all...

At £21.50 a head for two courses, or £25 for three at lunchtimes (Christmas menu), you'll also have plenty of cash left to head once more into the breach and get back on to the pressie shopping afterwards. Unless you're too stuffed to move...

You can find The One Elm at 1 Guild Street, call to book on 01789 404919, or log on to oneelmstratford.co.uk to see more.