I can already hear the laughter. KFC? A restaurant review?

A couple of weeks ago, in a review of the exceptional fried chicken at Cowley Road's Big Society, I challenged bar food fans to recommend their own favourite spots for a bite of crunchy poultry. And among the suggestions came the ubiquitous Kentucky-based fast food joint.

It had been years since I'd stopped at one of the Colonel's establishments, but I admit to having once harboured a minor addiction to their buttery corn on the cob and, of course, that 'secret recipe' crispy coating. So, in the name of research, I drove up to the unlovely Peartree Services, looking forward to a greasy guilty pleasure of a feast.

The first thing to say, is that it wasn't that cheap, with three small pieces of chicken costing a fiver – not much less than you'd pay to eat in a warm, comfy bar, instead of a very draughty, unpleasantly smelling dining area with plastic seats and filthy tables. It did, however, come with fries and a drink – a guilt-ridden Pepsi in my case, a quarter of which was ice.

Service was efficient if brusk, and queries over the confusing menu, with its torturous permutations of buckets, wicked buckets, trays, meals and feasts, were met with thinly disguised scorn.

I settled for the original recipe chicken and found it sadly soggy - not at all like the crunchy delights of memory. The fries were cold. Stone cold.

My 10-year-old lad, who had been dubious about the trip in the first place, settled on a meal of three mini fillets (£4.85) which came with a crunchier, nutty coating (which I liked, but he did not), a tiny packet of very cold fries, a Fruit Shoot and a microscopic packet of popcorn chicken, which he loved, but I found appalling.

To be fair, it wasn't too bad on balance. And if stuck on a long motorway journey I would probably call at one again. But given the choice of a KFC or, pretty much anywhere else in town, well, I'll be going to somewhere I don't have to wipe down my own plastic table first.

*KFC, Peartree Services, Oxford