JAN MOIR: I went to Jeremy Clarkson’s restaurant and left with Diddly Squat in my purse!

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The sun was shining in the west, it was shining all over the Cotswolds, it was shining on the good people of Chadlington and also on the bad people of Chadlington; the ones who objected to Jeremy Clarkson’s plans to build a new restaurant on his 1,000-acre Diddly Squat farm next to their picture-perfect village in Oxfordshire.

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It was shining on the parched hills and in the golden meadows, where cornflowers and oxeye daisies bloomed together. It splashed like butterscotch on the Diddly Squat farm shop, where customers — ‘essentially car fans’, said a shop assistant — were queuing for more than an hour in the 82F heat of a summer Sunday to buy a box of Jeremy’s fudge, or a Jeremy chopping board, or some Jeremy apple juice, which incidentally is one of the few things sold in Jeremy’s shop that is actually produced on Jeremy’s farm.

Honestly. You have no idea what an utter cult Jeremy Clarkson is until you visit his Diddly Squat empire and see it with your own goggling eyes.

For queues of seven hours are not unknown at the Diddly Squat shop, and the girl on the till recalled one recent customer spending more than £350.

The sun was shining in the west, it was shining all over the Cotswolds, it was shining on the good people of Chadlington and also on the bad people of Chadlington: Pictured: Jeremy Clarkson and his girlfriend, Lisa Hogan

The sun was shining in the west, it was shining all over the Cotswolds, it was shining on the good people of Chadlington and also on the bad people of Chadlington: Pictured: Jeremy Clarkson and his girlfriend, Lisa Hogan

The sun was shining in the west, it was shining all over the Cotswolds, it was shining on the good people of Chadlington and also on the bad people of Chadlington: Pictured: Jeremy Clarkson and his girlfriend, Lisa Hogan

On what? ‘Just. . . stuff,’ she said, gesturing towards the shelves crammed with bacon, cheese and scotch eggs and pricy Diddly Squat merchandising, including Jeremy’s infamous This Smells Like My B****cks candle (£22), launched in homage to Gwyneth Paltrow’s vagina -scented variety. I opened the candle lid to have a sniff; oakmoss and leather, what a relief.

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The man in front of me, accompanied by his wife and tiny baby, buys £70 worth of goods, including Jeremy’s bestselling Diddly Squat book, a wooden bottle opener and some Bee Juice (honey), although no Cow Juice (milk) and his wife was eager to point out why. ‘Because we’ve got lots of Mummy Juice of our own, haven’t we, darling?’ she says to her baby.

To distract myself from this horror, I bought a small jar of honey for £12.80. Can I have a receipt please, I asked the till girl, wondering if it was Beyonce herself who collected the pollen, because that’s the only thing I can think of that might justify the price. ‘We don’t do receipts,’ she replies, sweetly. I’ll bet you don’t, I think.

Meanwhile, outside, the queue for the shop has grown. But I move on, keen to inspect the latest chapter in the Diddly Squat story — its new all-beef, no-choice bucolic outdoor restaurant, opened after Clarkson found a planning loophole when he was originally denied permission.

There are pretty tables outside, but we are having lunch in a little VIP room for four which Clarkson¿s girlfriend, Lisa Hogan, has decorated with rustic charm

There are pretty tables outside, but we are having lunch in a little VIP room for four which Clarkson¿s girlfriend, Lisa Hogan, has decorated with rustic charm

There are pretty tables outside, but we are having lunch in a little VIP room for four which Clarkson’s girlfriend, Lisa Hogan, has decorated with rustic charm

I wandered over to the reception desk – a wooden stand in a field – to claim my table for lunch. There, a grown woman is crying because she has just been told that the restaurant is full and, with no reservation, they cannot accommodate her.

She sits down on a hay bale and bawls her eyes out, properly sobbing. Perhaps she has come a long way?

One shop customer drove seven hours from Lowestoft, bought three pints of milk, one box of fudge and two lamb pies and drove back again. Is everyone around here completely insane? One couple have driven up and back from Bodmin three times to have a cup of tea and take selfies by the shop’s famous road sign.

‘It’s like Las Vegas to us,’ they say, adding: ‘We love Jeremy.’

Who doesn’t? Even the Duchess of Cornwall counts him as a friend and describes Clarkson as a ‘countryside champion’ because he makes the public realize the difficulties of farming.

That is true, but there is also a part of me that thinks in reality Clarkson is to farming what Mr. Kipling is to cakes. Yes, he is a hands-on gentleman farmer who works hard, but in the end the richest and biggest crop that he harvests is himself and his fame.

And surely the main purpose of the new restaurant is to provide another stream of content for his smash-hit Amazon show, Clarkson’s Farm. Certainly, it is a financial investment beyond the pocket of most British farmers. But what is it like, I hear you cry! Situated in an old sheep hut made of honey stone, with a corrugated plastic roof, the restaurant looks over the rolling acres of Jeremy’s farm. Chef Pip Lacey is in charge of the kitchen and the menu offers no choice – just beef, beef or more beef, although you don’t know what part of the cow you are getting. ‘It might be tongue, it might be fillet steak,’ says Jeremy.

To be kept guessing, however, is not quite the same as being thrilled. The biggest thrill, in fact, is that Kaleb Cooper himself — I love Kaleb! — who is one of the farm workers and stars of the show, piles the guests into a trailer hitched to the famous Lamborghini tractor and drives us down to the restaurant. ‘I hope you are hungry,’ he cried.

There are pretty tables outside, but we are having lunch in a little VIP room for four which Clarkson’s girlfriend, Lisa Hogan, has decorated with rustic charm; there is a jug of sweet peas, a red gingham tablecloth and mismatched blue and white crockery.

Situated in an old sheep hut made of honey stone, with a corrugated plastic roof, the restaurant looks over the rolling acres of Jeremy's farm.

Situated in an old sheep hut made of honey stone, with a corrugated plastic roof, the restaurant looks over the rolling acres of Jeremy's farm.

Situated in an old sheep hut made of honey stone, with a corrugated plastic roof, the restaurant looks over the rolling acres of Jeremy’s farm

If it feels a little like a television set, that’s because it is — filming for Clarkson’s next series is in full swing as crews move between diners. At one point the great man appears, roaring up in a Land Rover with blacked-out windows, and does a piece to the camera before roaring off again.

On screen and in person, he says it’s all about the beef — and he’s right. On Clarkson’s Farm, Britain’s most unlikely farmer presents himself as a man of the cattle; a beef baron, the sheikh of steak who makes no concession for vegetarians in his catering outlets.

That’s all very well, but here is my beef – why isn’t that beef better? There is a lot to love about the restaurant: the location is superb, the view is lovely and so are the staff. Given that I am in a restaurant on a beef-producing farm on their second day of service, I had expected something magnificent for Sunday lunch: a roast rib or roast sirloin perhaps. But we are served a cut called topside. It’s OK, but can I be honest? It’s a bit chain pub.

Given that I am in a restaurant on a beef-producing farm on their second day of service, I had expected something magnificent for Sunday lunch: a roast rib or roast sirloin perhaps.  But we are served a cut called topside.  It's OK, but can I be honest?  It's a bit of a pub chain

Given that I am in a restaurant on a beef-producing farm on their second day of service, I had expected something magnificent for Sunday lunch: a roast rib or roast sirloin perhaps.  But we are served a cut called topside.  It's OK, but can I be honest?  It's a bit of a pub chain

Given that I am in a restaurant on a beef-producing farm on their second day of service, I had expected something magnificent for Sunday lunch: a roast rib or roast sirloin perhaps. But we are served a cut called topside. It’s OK, but can I be honest? It’s a bit chain pub

Meanwhile, a starter of steak tartare was assembled with a chopped mixture of rump, skirt and fillet steak, instead of being 100 percent fillet, which is standard

Meanwhile, a starter of steak tartare was assembled with a chopped mixture of rump, skirt and fillet steak, instead of being 100 percent fillet, which is standard

Meanwhile, a starter of steak tartare was assembled with a chopped mixture of rump, skirt and fillet steak, instead of being 100 percent fillet, which is standard

They are an organized kitchen who know what they are doing¿ but it¿s just too overpriced for comfort, starting at £49 per head

They are an organized kitchen who know what they are doing¿ but it¿s just too overpriced for comfort, starting at £49 per head

They are an organized kitchen who know what they are doing — but it’s just too overpriced for comfort, starting at £49 per head

Pudding was strawberries and ice cream with honey ¿ featuring one strawberry cut in half.  Add this to the shopping experience and it all leaves you feeling rather like a Clarkson sheep in spring: fleeced

Pudding was strawberries and ice cream with honey ¿ featuring one strawberry cut in half.  Add this to the shopping experience and it all leaves you feeling rather like a Clarkson sheep in spring: fleeced

Pudding was strawberries and ice cream with honey – featuring one strawberry cut in half. Add this to the shopping experience and it all leaves you feeling rather like a Clarkson sheep in spring: fleeced

The day before, the main course was steak or beef sausages. Meanwhile, a starter of steak tartare was assembled with a chopped mixture of rump, skirt and fillet steak, instead of being 100 percent fillet, which is standard.

“We do that because the mix has a better flavor,” explains one of the chefs. But you wouldn’t have to, if you used premium fillet in the first place.

They are an organized kitchen who know what they are doing – but it’s just too overpriced for comfort, starting at £49 per head.

Pudding was strawberries and ice cream with honey – featuring one strawberry cut in half. Add this to the shopping experience and it all leaves you feeling rather like a Clarkson sheep in spring: fleeced.

After lunch we get back in the trailer and trundle through the field once more.

When we reach the shop, Kaleb switches off the tractor, comes round to the side of the trailer and holds out a paper cup for tips.

Never mind the mummy juice, single-digit soft fruit, smarmy Jeremy worship and chewy tartare — somehow that was the worst thing of all.

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