THE Dog House seems to have a lot going for it.

It boasts a nice building and good location in the small hamlet of Frilford, a few miles west of Abingdon.

Furthermore, staff are friendly and the interior is spacious and classically stylish without being too much of a departure from a traditional pub.

The only issue, then, is the fact that the food is poor, overpriced, and composed with a distinct lack of any passion or enthusiasm.

When I visited the Dog House it was a Monday night but there was still a healthy smattering of people at the bar and in the dining area.

The pub had a sophisticated vibe and the menu only extended this feeling.

It offered, as one would expect, the usual suspects, but this menu also presented itself as something a bit more than your average pub menu.

There was also a section ambitiously titled ‘Chef’s Inspired Dishes’.

I eventually opted for the sea bass and seared scallops (£14.69); two grilled sea bass fillets, pan-fried scallops served on a prawn, pea and chive risotto.

I was pleased to find the strength within myself to go for something slightly fancier - and didn’t feel bad paying the extra cash for it.

After about 10 minutes, out it came.

This was the first worrying sign. A £15 dish should not be ready in 10 minutes.

Put frankly, the pathetic dish looked like a mound of rice with some fishy bits and a bit of cress thrown lethargically on top.

Looking at the rice I could see the shape of the four corners of whatever container it was cooked in.

This was the second foreboding sign. A £15 dish should not include rice cooked in a Tupperware box.

Upon eating, the ‘risotto’ more closely resembled lightly seasoned rice than anything else and the monkfish and scallops were, while not terrible, bland.

I don’t know what it was that ‘inspired’ the ‘chef’ to cook this meal but can only assume it was an episode of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.

What leaves me so frustrated at the Dog House is the feeling of being conned.

I’m perfectly happy to go into a Wetherspoon’s and have some mediocre scampi for a fiver.

But I was charged £15 for this risotto and it was the first dish in the ‘Chef’s Inspired Dishes’, so I expected something more.

Instead it was lazy, dull and uninspired.

My advice to the Dog House: try harder - either at cooking or at managing your customers’ expectations.