WITH a prime position perched on the edge of the River Thames, The Nag's Head has welcomed me in the past for a pint in its beer garden.

But for reasons that escape me, I have always avoided ordering food under the assumption I would be disappointed.

I was delighted to find out how wrong I was.

It is late evening when we step into the warmth of the downstairs restaurant, protected from the outdoor chill.

Diners are still enjoying the garden, though, thanks to fire-engorged patio burners that dance against the black water.

Our window table has an alluring view of both, though our indoor surroundings are equally intriguing with rich red walls and a silver feature mirror shaped like a sunburst.

The waiter immediately directs the beer list to Tom rather than myself, his female companion, and seems a little surprised when I order a half pint of ale (£1.85).

It is already nearing 8.30pm, so we skip to main courses – an unimaginative choice from me of fish and chips (£12.95), and corn-fed chicken breast (£15.95) with savoy cabbage and pancetta for Tom.

The wait is slightly longer than our hungry mouths had hoped for, but proves to be worth it when we are handed our dishes.

Tom's chicken is beautifully laid out, encircled by potatoes and a sweep of sauce vierge.

Mine is more traditionally presented but packs a punch with flavour, which I am relieved to find after other Pub Grubb counterparts that have been decidedly bland.

The batter is crisp and golden without a trace of grease, swathing ivory flakes of haddock that have a subtle hint of the sea.

Chips are thick-cut and fluffy, which I dunk with glee into a flavoursome pot of tartar sauce that is coarse with crunchy capers.

My mushy peas are minty and clearly freshly-made, though I would have preferred them to have been whizzed up for a little longer.

We decide to split an indulgent dessert of salted caramel and chocolate tart; as decadent as it is delicious, balanced with a refreshing scoop of raspberry ice cream.

In light of my earlier prejudice, it is was the tastiest piece of humble pie I have ever eaten.

The Nag's Head, The Bridge, Abingdon, 01235 524516.