SOMETIMES I struggle to be brutally honest in my reviews, wary that it will blacken the name of a family business that might just be having a bad day.

Perhaps this was the case at the Woodman Inn near Faringdon, which boasts dozens of all-star reviews and a Certificate of Excellence on Tripadvisor.

But since reading the infuriating replies of landlord David Bryant on said platform to anyone who dares mark it poorly – encouraging one reviewer to 'do us all a favour and get yourself a meal deal for one from Iceland and stop running around whining' – I have no qualms about being candid.

The pub itself is in keeping with the quaint village it is located in, with low beams and dark patterned carpets softened by an open fire.

It is busy this Sunday lunchtime, families drawn in despite the menu being almost limited to a roast or fish and chips.

I fancy neither so opt for the vegetarian option of mushroom and spinach pie, served with veg, trimmings and gravy.

We decide on the two-course set price option (£15.95) and my mum and sister order potato soup to start, while dad and I decide to hang on for pudding.

Later he politely asks the waitress if the soups are on the way, to which she snaps ‘they should be’.

She makes no apologies when she sets them down 35 minutes after our order was taken.

Our mains thankfully take less time, despite us overhearing a less-than-reassuring conversation in which a senior staff member urges our waitress to 'delay any more orders'.

It is he who hands over our dishes, apologising for the wait and admitting they are 'chasing their tails to catch up'.

The food itself does little to cheer me up. Potatoes and the homemade Yorkshire pudding are soggy, as if they have been sat on the side for hours, and I cannot find even a sniff of mushroom in the mushroom pie – the filling seems to be little more than potato and swede slop.

My stuffing ball is hard and tastes like a packet mix that has not been properly combined.

Needless to say we do not stick around for pudding – perhaps we will stop by at Iceland on our way home.

The Woodman Inn, Fernham, Faringdon, 01367 820643.