I HAVE frequented many an Oxfordshire pub on a Monday night, usually panic-ordering food to assess in time for our Tuesday print deadline.

Many, I have found, do not even bother to open their kitchens, such is the expectation of custom.

I was pleased to find the Greyhound at Besselsleigh - a pub you have likely passed along the A420 - does not fall into that category, perhaps due to its likelihood to get passing trade from the busy road on its doorstep.

Tables near the bar were reassuringly occupied, even at the relatively early hour of 6.30pm.

Murmurings of conversation and the clattering of glassware confirmed that this would not be another Monday sat in silence in an empty room.

The attractive bar and dining area was a vision of autumn, with garlands of fiery orange and crimson leaves strung on walls and window sills.

I had eaten at the pub once before, but that must have been about two years ago.

I remember it being a successful meal and urging friends to go and visit, so had high hopes for my return.

The barman pointed Tom and I to a table near other diners, telling us to ignore the 'reserved' card, but we were unsure of the etiquette then on.

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After about 15 minutes of confusion, quietly questioning if we needed to seek menus from the bar, a waiter arrived with them.

The menu changes daily and main courses on Monday ranged in price from £12.45 for ham, egg and chips to £19.95 for lamb rump.

I chose the latter, while Tom stuck to trusty beer-battered cod with chips and mushy peas (£14.75).

Unfortunately, the wait for our food was a lengthy one - about 40 minutes.

My tomato juice (£3.20) was long-gone by the time it arrived, albeit with the waiter's apologies.

The three hunks of perfectly-pink lamb perked me up, and they were deliciously tender and juicy.

I did have to season it myself, however, as the flavour itself was a little bland.

The lamb came with aubergine purée, roasted peppers, raw courgette, tiny pickled onions and a drizzle of rich 'braising liquor.'

Each flavour alone was pleasant, but I was unsure of the combination, particularly as every element except the meat was served cold.

The menu promised crispy lamb 'croquettes', plural, but there was just the one, which was probably my favourite part of the dish.

Tom's fish was cooked perfectly and the beer batter was delicious, as were the chips and tartar sauce, but he was unconvinced that it was worth £15.

Despite the cosy surroundings, polite staff and ingredients clearly of a high quality, we felt the service and flavours missed the mark.

The Greyhound, A420 at Besselsleigh, 01865 862110.