CLEARLY aimed at guests staying at the Courtyard Marriott hotel in Milton Park, the Oxen Bar and Grill is not in the most inviting of locations.

Based inside the hotel at the business park but with its own entrance I was keen to see if it was worth seeking out for locals as well.

I was quickly seated in a ridiculously comfy chair in a large restaurant that was modern and spacious with high ceilings and given warmth by a sea of low hanging lights.

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The menu was simple, focused largely on British classics but with enough crowd pleasers like pizza and burgers to keep everyone happy.

The prices were at the upper end of average with mains ranging from around £14 to £19.

I worried it may be a case of style over substance, the restaurant making full use of its captive audience – and with a full house on a Monday evening it was clearly working.

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My ham hock starter with egg and pea veloute (£7) arrived, however, as a posh version of ham and egg and I loved it.

The ham was salty with a crunch from the breadcrumb coating, a runny yolk cutting through and then the whole thing ending with creamy pea, which impressively did not get lost in the richness of the other two.

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Hake fillet, samphire, potato and brown shrimp (£17) was next, crispy pieces of potato on top adding some much-needed crunch and the lemon sauce fresh and sharp.

Unfortunately the hake, while well cooked, was over seasoned, with the amount of salt detracting rather than enhancing the flavour of the fish.

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Despite being stuffed a dark chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream and clotted cream fudge (£7) called to me like a sugar-laden siren.

Also I’ve watched enough MasterChef to know this is the true test of any self-respecting cook.

A small fondant was presented to me on an incredibly large plate with very shallow edges and rapidly melting ice cream.

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It seemed an ill-advised decision and what followed was one of the messiest dining experiences of my life.

There was a lot of chasing the gooey inside of the fondant around with my spoon as I tried to shepherd both it, the ice cream and tiny pieces of fudge onto there at the same time.

Once I got a bite though it was worth it, the cold vanilla ice cream combining perfectly with the indulgent warm dark chocolate.

The fudge also proved to be an unexpected delight, though this may say more about my sweet tooth than anything.