TO start I have grilled butterflied sardines with a tomato and olive salsa and toasted croutes (£6.75): a beautifully assembled pile of salad and fish on two bits of toast, lovingly drizzled with stuff.

It tastes perfectly fine – very tasty fish and dressing, it's just not mind-blowing: no little chilli kick or unexpected fruit or anything that requires more imagination than I could have mustered up at home.

In a way it sums up our visit to Buckland.

The Lamb is an perfectly picturesque country pub: firstly, in order to find it, you have to drive ten miles out of out Oxford into the wilds of the Vale of White Horse, then meander down ever-shrinking country roads past increasingly quaint little village homes until you round a corner and, almost hidden from view, there's a tiny little entrance road. You drive down that, round another quirky little corner, and the view opens up to reveal the mighty walls of Cotswold stone, swathed in ivy, with a sweet little lawn outside with pub benches.

It's only when you get inside that the friendly facade is just slightly let down by the fact that it's just a little on the cold side of cosy. It's also slightly frustrating that a waitress who takes my order for a lemonade immediately forgets it, meaning we end up going to the bar to get a round.

For my main I go for the pan roasted fillet of trout with a lemon and parsley crust and white wine cream sauce and heritage carrots.

It looks very pretty, and again there's nothing wrong with the way it's cooked, there's just no surprises: for £16.95, I'd liked to be just a little bit blown away.

I should point out that the Lamb boasts its food is locally-sourced and seasonal where possible, so you can walk out with a warm glow in your conscience if nothing else.

The Lamb, Buckland, SN7 8QN 01367 870484