I am that person who will spend 45 minutes in the car on a dark, rainy Wednesday night driving across Oxfordshire on the promise of a good bowl of French onion soup, Mr Greedy holding on tightly to his seat belt.

Poor man had been looking forward to a much deserved night in; his slippers almost yelping in anticipation.

And then I happened to flick through my Twitter account and noticed that The White Hart in Fyfield was hosting a one-off French night, inspired by the chef/owners/husband and wife team, Mark and Kay Chandler’s recent holiday, and in a nano-second our cosy night was over.

Because there, right at the top of their planned French menu, were the immortal words “French onion soup, gruyere and crouton”, followed by the even more tempting addendum, “moules mariniere”.

But the deciding factor was the urgent message at the bottom, which flashed like a nuclear alert: ONLY TWO MORE TABLES LEFT.

And that was it. I was on the phone quicker than you could say “sacre bleu”, and before we knew it we were hurtling towards Fyfield, Mr Greedy’s slippers weeping silently into their sheepskin depths.

Situated just off the A420, within minutes we were sat at the back of the packed dining room in the 15th century pub, eschewing drinks at the bar, while gazing in delight at the dangerously enticing menu – a veritable rollcall of France’s best dishes: “Coq au vin?” “Present sir.” “Salad Lyonnaise?” “Yes sir.” “Tarte tatin?” “Sir.” “Creme brulee?” “Here sir.” And so on.

Of course the Chandlers' advantage is that while French food is particularly regional, they could pick and mix their favourites.

We ordered the soup obviously, and the moules. Then cassoulet and the peppers, and finally the souffle and a cheese plate.

As soon as the soup arrived everything else fell away, and I stared into its dark, silky depths like a woman possessed.

Deep, rich, salty, sweet, it sucked me under like a whirlpool, the dark slice of homemade rye bread and cheese, an added bonus.

Mr Greedy proffered his spoon in a rather pathetic manner, and it took every ounce of my will power to agree; he’s not called Mr Greedy for nothing.

Not that he was doing badly mind; the beautifully creamy, garlicky, cider and cream sauce, with shallot, garlic and parsley absorbing all of his attention, enhancing the clean, salty, plump, juicy mussels which hail from St Austell’s Bay in Cornwall, every last shred of bread used to soak up the remaining vestiges, the violet garlic much milder than normal, so kinder to the palate, the parsley counteracting any remaining pungency.

A glass of wonderful Cote Du Rhone and we were onto the next course – the cassoulet, which is always as filling as a stocking on Christmas Eve, the duck leg perched on the famous concoction of white beans, sausage, herbs, breadcrumbs and tomatoes, innocuous enough until you delved into its stew of dense heart-warming ingredients.

Mr Greedy tucked in keenly, slowing as he realised the enormity of the task, refusing to give up on such a quality dish, yet struggling to finish.

I on the other hand was on a roll, enjoying my lighter and plainer plate of peppers with tabbouleh and and ratatouille, waiting patiently for the masterpiece to arrive.

And I wasn’t disappointed; the puffed brown pud, resplendent in icing sugar, just begging me to plunge my spoon in, its bitter, savoury then sweet, soft, gooey insides silencing me into submission, set off perfectly by the burnt orange ice cream with its heavenly hints of ginger.

The cheese (Camembert, Roquefort and a hard goat’s offering) was suitably sublime, and as the last morsel was polished off, accompanied by some wonderful coffee and a cube of delectable chocolate brownie, we thanked the Chandlers and headed home to check out property prices in France.

In the meantime, you can get down to The White Hart in Wytham for any occasion, because whatever the menu, Mark pays it as much attention as the most revered French chef, and you just can’t go wrong.

The White Hart, Main Road, Fyfield OX13 5LW

01865 390585


Parking: car park at back

Food: Tuesday to Thursday lunchtimes: noon to 2pm and dinner 6pm to 9pm.

Friday lunch noon to 2pm and dinner 6pm to 9.30pm

Saturday lunch: noon to 2.30pm and dinner 6pm to 9.30pm.

Sunday lunch: noon to 3.30pm

Try the next events: Pumpkin Week October 26 to November 2, and Game Night on Wednesday November 21