WE went for the trompe-l'œil but we stayed for the... well, we didn't leave, anyway.

Having phoned around various of Faringdon's highly-rated restaurants for a fancy night out only to discover them all to be fully-booked, we remembered that pub in the market place that had the fun painting on the wall that made it look as if you were gazing out on a vast viridian vista.

I call to book a table.

"Could I book a table for two tonight please?"

"Yes of course, what's the name?"



"I can't see you down here."

"No, I'm phoning to book a table."

"Oh ok, cool."

When we arrive later we discover the entire staff is under 25.

A very friendly guy in an oversized white shirt shows us to our table and – joy of joys – it's in the room with our favourite faux-fenestration.

After going on a short hunt for menus, we take some time to enjoy the idiosyncratic house style: chefs' soup, for example, begs the question 'how many cooks do spoil the broth?' while the 'Chefs Asain Beef Salad' makes the mind boggle.

After we've chosen, we sit and talk of times gone by until it becomes clear that this pub does not offer table service, so I wander up to the bar to engage our friend.

For my starter I go for the King Prawns in Garlic Butter with Ciabatta (£6.95).

Now, we've had a heated debate about this issue in this office, but to me this ciabatta tasted very much like a re-heated supermarket baguette. Some of my colleagues are confident from my photographic evidence alone that this is indeed the real deal.

I also would have liked the prawns to be shell-on, but actually they're not bad and the sauce is rich and salty.

For my main course I can't resist the Gourmet Fish Burger with Tartar Sauce and Lettuce (£11.95).

It's not quite cheap-and-cheerful because it's not that cheap, but it's certainly medium-priced and mirthful: the fish tastes like a real piece of fish.

My companion meanwhile, has insisted I tell you that for a second of our outings in the name of journalism his main course (duck breast) has too much gravy: chefs, can you please put a little less gravy on the plate. Thanks.

We wash our repast down with a good Merlot, but staff refuse to take repeat orders from the table even when they're there anyway delivering your food.

Overall, the grub is good, the service is charmingly original and the artwork is to die for.