THE last time I came to the Lamb and Flag, the pub was filled with the spicy scents of Pad See Euw, Massaman and Thai red curry.

Tonight it is filled with the aromatic odours from curries of a different kind: Balti, Jalfrezi and Tandoori Massala.

A new family are now cooking up a storm in this quite corner of Oxfordshire and invited us to come and have a taste.

After driving down the dark country lanes to this isolated ale house with its orange windows glowing against the night, we are welcomed inside by a bustle of enthusiastic waiters.

We are ushered down the staggered levels into the belly of the pub where we pick a window seat as the lighting is set at "mood" level, verging on dark.

Before we can think about anything else, we order the essential poppadoms with pickles: the standard sweet mango chutney, chopped raw onions and tongue-torching lime pickle are joined by a sweet but fiery tomato sauce.

For our entree, Katie picks the Mixed Starter (£5.95) of tandoori chicken, lamb and some kind of sausage. It is all succulent, spiced and with some sweet dipping sauce to boot.

I choose the King Prawn Puree (£5.95), which turns out to be a sweet and mild curry with a chapati to soak up the juices.

For our mains, we end up getting another Tandoori Mixed Grill (£12.50), which is essentially the same as the starter but twice the size; a delectable Haddock Balti (£10.50) with delicately-cooked fish pieces in a dark aromatic sauce, and the chef insists we try his speciality Nepali chicken, which is well-cooked and worth boasting about.

With the classic enthusiasm of first-time diners we also somehow order several side dishes including a very fragrant Sag Aloo (£3.95) and some tender Cauliflower bhaja (£3.95).

Needless to say Naan breads were also piled high.

With our hosts falling over themselves to stuff our faces, we somehow ended up ordering an ice-cream pot each for desert which we try to stuff down out of politeness – I end up with a Cadbury's Flake-themed pot and Katie with a much classier Ferrero Rocher one.

Overall we agree the experience is generally good. I would go back for the Haddock Balti and the Sag Aloo, but they can keep the deserts next time.

Lamb and Flag, Southmoor 01865 820208