ONE way of dealing with the summer heat is to stop evading it and simply embrace it.

And what better way of getting into that spirit than a voyage to India - or, at the very least, the closest thing Wantage has to offer.

House of Spice, right in the centre of the town, has an unimposing presence. It's interior, too, is pleasant but relatively plain.

Its food, however, delivers a sucker punch that will have you coming back for more.

The first thing I remember about my visit on Bank Holiday Monday evening is the semi-religious experience of parking on a single yellow line about 100 metres away.

However, even those visiting on a normal weekday should find somewhere to park easy enough in the town.

Once inside I was unsure of what to go for but keen to try something new.

I opted for the meat thali (£16.95) - thali being the Indian word for a round platter used to serve food.

I then counterbalanced the bravery of the meat thali choice by ordering onion bhajis on the side - as well as starting with the prerequisite poppadoms.

When the thali came out it immediately past the visual test.

Six metal pots were perched atop a circular tray, surrounding a naan bread cut into four slices.

One of the pots contained rice. The other five ranged from vibrant yellows to deep fiery reds.

In the pots were Aloo chat, chicken tikka, lamb Bhuna, Sheek kebab, chicken makhani and pilau rice.

From memory, I started with the kebab, which was packed with meaty flavours and had a good bite to match.

The chicken makhani, perhaps my favourite of all the dishes, had a rich and creamy flavour and included enormous chunks of chicken.

The chicken tikka offered a more subtle and thoughtful flavour, the kind that develops with each taste.

I could have happily eaten any of the pots alone as a meal but what was most outstanding about the thali was the way in which the flavours worked together.

There is the option to move from rich to more nuanced flavours and the overall affect of this luxury enhances the experience as a whole.

The House of Spice, in many ways, is something of a humble gem.

Its non-descript look and fairly relaxed atmosphere bely some serious kitchen wizardry.

So don't evade the heat - embrace it at the House of Spice.