Even Salvador Dali would have struggled to describe my meal at Quisine.

Not just because it was a such a surreal experience, but because its Fawlty Towers moments only added to the whole wonderful encounter. Booking a table in itself was quite interesting. When we rang and asked if they could talk us through the taster menu, the simple answer was ‘no’, and to ring back. But judging by the punters who have pledged eternal love to Vipen Shama’s food online, there was no need to worry, and we persisted until managing to book a table for four.

Where to start? We were late, very late, even by our standards. Have you ever tried parking in Banbury? And then walking in my heels? And then arriving opposite the late-night pubs and arcades in the wrong part of town to find a closed café, and being led in the dark past the croissant baskets and drink stands, and having to squeeze behind an enormous freezer and up the stairs where we found our friends looking rather nervous in a tiny, empty dining room, sipping coke from a can.

But then Vipen Sharma burst into the room, grinning from ear to ear as he proceeded to take us through his menu, in what we realised wasn’t going to be a meal, but more of an odyssey. Find me a man who’s prouder of his restaurant than Vipen, or anyone as happy to be cooking than him, and I’ll happily give Lady Godiva a run for her money. He was absolutely delighted to be there to show off his culinary prowess. And as he explained the dishes he was preparing, we realised his tasting menu wasn’t a parade of tiny courses, but a demonstration of everything he liked to cook.

As former headchef on the QE2, he knows his stuff, and despite the bizarre set-up, and the staff who speak very little English, which led to some hilarious role play, we all fastened our seatbelts and held on tight for the culinary ride.

And Vipen didn’t disappoint. First up was a selection of breads with two dips, both Middle Eastern, the first with a hint of curry, the second lemon, and just one mouthful of each set the tone for the whole evening. Subtle, gentle, delicious, refined. And then we relaxed because we knew we were in for a treat beyond all expectations, despite the Fawlty Towers intonations.

The most hilarious moment came after our delicious amuse bouche of celeriac and parsnip velouté, with a hint of cardamom when the starters were brought in on long white plates, delicately balanced in a row. When Vipen asked if there was anything else we required we pointed at one of the starters, which had fallen on the floor, and promptly been trodden on. “Oh sh**,” Vipen said with a grin and went back to the kitchen to make another one.

Vipen must have spent all day in the kitchen concocting our meal, but the effort that had gone into it was still overwhelming. The roasted lamb fillet in red wine and rosemary glaze with confit shallot was so beautifully cooked I thought Mr Greedy might start weeping. It came accompanied by a glazed grilled mushroom filled with butter, leek and goat cheese and the soused lentils scented with a caramelised onion nest on flat bread.

As if that wasn’t enough, the mains which followed included a confit of Gloucester Old Spot belly pork, layered with black pudding and roasted apple, served with cider gravy, and some pan-roasted pink duck, with a blood orange, Grand Marnier and kumquat sauce. These were all served with new potatoes, market greens, a root vegetable tian and pan jus. Any serious carnivores should sit up and take notice because the dedication that went into the cooking of each of the meat dishes was quite exceptional.

Dessert was another palette of options; a chocolate marquise with a chilli and orange reduction, a stupendous sticky toffee pudding served with clotted cream ice cream that defied belief, carrot and cardamom pudding (gajar halwa), and an Eton Mess with blueberry coulis that had Mr Greedy in raptures.

There was little finesse to the service itself. And yet we happily sign languaged for more drinks, cutlery and to signal that we had finished each course, because the general bonhomie of Viper’s restaurant was utterly charming. Add in the fact that he’s happy to go the extra mile, (friends who had recommended Quisine to us said he’d opened up specially for them the previous Sunday night), mean it’s utterly incomparable.

And, wait for it, you get all this for the princely sum of £25 a head. I kid you not. £25 for all this food and effort. Even Basil Fawlty might have smiled at that.