IT is booked up for three months in advance and is only open for dinner on three weekday nights.

There are certainly easier options to satisfy a craving for Thai cuisine, and there is a wealth of highly-rated Asian restaurants in Oxfordshire competing for custom.

With that in mind, is it really worth the wait to eat at Oli's Thai?

Several years after it first captured the city's attention, the answer is still an emphatic yes.

While newer eateries have climbed up the TripAdvisor ranks with rave feedback from customers, Oli's Thai has quietly retained its loyal stream of customers.

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Last month the restaurant, on Magdalen Road in East Oxford, was again given a Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide - an award that celebrates 'exceptionally good food at moderate prices'.

We managed to get a last-minute table due to a cancellation, and arrived in the tiny, softly-lit dining room at 6pm on a Wednesday, when it was already full.

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Aubergine curry

If you can get there at the start or towards the end of service, you might be lucky to get seats at the bar without booking - we watched a couple of regulars walk in and enjoy a meal there during the duration of our dinner.

The menu is limited to a few options each for starters and mains, with a few more on the specials board.

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We chose to share the crispy chickpea salad and special of Miang Kham - a type of leaf-wrapped snack with dried shrimp - to start.

The special packed an incredibly zesty, refreshing punch of flavour with tangy dressing, crunchy nuts and ginger - I could have quite happily eaten it several times over.

The crispy chickpeas had a sweeter flavour, with a fresh and spicy salad scattered with coriander and radish.

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I ordered aubergine curry for my main, requesting extra coconut milk in the sauce to ease the spice level, and Tom chose confit duck panang curry. They each came with a pot of sticky rice each.

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Both dishes were delicious enough to trigger enthusiastic murmurs of approval - the gently-spiced liquid, soft aubergine flesh and crisp green beans melded beautifully together.

Tom's duck peeled off the bone with the gentlest prod of cutlery, swathed in a fragrant but fiery sauce.

Oxford Mail:

Duck curry

Our meal amounted to £52 for two starters, two mains and two beers, excluding service charge, which we felt was reasonable for the standard of food.

Those with a sweet tooth can finish off with an egg tart from the counter, crammed with an indulgent creamy custard.

The only disappointment was when it came to clearing up - I was too full to finish my main, and asked for a box to take the last few mouthfuls away in.

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After being told 'I can't let you do that I'm afraid', we joked that we could carry it away in our own container, and received the same solemn response.

Apparently the restaurant has changed its policy and now does not allow any leftover food to be taken off the premises - it became so popular that customers were over-ordering especially so they could take food away to eat at home.

So, make sure you have a rumbling stomach - and possibly an elasticated waistband - before you go.

Oli's Thai, Magdalen Road, Oxford, 01865 790223.