Merchant Inns, the food-led operator headed by Robert Breare, is to open two new sites this month - with a huge £3.75m invested in each,writes John Harrington. The Lambert Arms in Aston Rowant, near Watlington in Oxfordshire, is opening on 20 September as a stylish, modern country inn with Michelin-style quality food. It will have conference and meeting facilities and 40 spacious bedrooms. It plans to attract business meeting and corporate events, being 500 yards from Junction Six of the M40. Food at the 19th century pub will focus on seasonal, locally-sourced produce and everything will be freshly prepared and made on the premises The Talbot Inn at Ripley, Surrey, is also opening at the end of September. Billed as one of Britain’s finest historic coaching inns, dating from the 16th century, it will also offer 40 en-suite bedrooms, plus conference and banqueting facilities. The new restaurant will serve modern British cuisine, whilst the bar will specialise in classic pub dishes, real ales and wines by the glass. Home-from-home comforts with a modern twist include free Wi-Fi internet access, plasma screen TV and luxurious toiletries. Meetings and weddings are catered for at the venue, which is located just two miles from junction 10 of the M25.