ONE year ago, The Black Horse in Thame was in the midst of a transformation from a tired boozer to a beautified gastropub.

It reopened in December as part of Raymond Blanc's White Brasserie Company, which describes its 17 branches as a 'unique combination of a traditional pubs serving French brasserie food, with an English twist'.

We arrive early on a Sunday evening and easily find free on-street parking a short walk away.

Just inside the entrance is the cosy bar area, where we are invited to order drinks before being seated - I resist the on-tap house wine and instead order a tomato juice (£2.50) and pint of Amstel for Tom (£4.30).

After handing me a tab the staff member turns her back, and I have to ask for a straw to mix the Worcestershire sauce with, and where we should wait for our table.

A waiter appears and we are led through a gorgeous bright conservatory, populated by plants and snug seating areas scattered with cushions and blankets.

The main restaurant area is almost as beautiful, decorated with bamboo-print wallpaper and vases of lavender.

The menu is packed with seasonal produce and an exciting mix of dishes, from Moroccan lamb tagine to mussels in Marinière sauce.

Prices are standard for a gastropub and especially reasonable given the affiliation with a world-famous chef - mains range from £11 for Asian-spiced tofu to £20 for steak frites.

I order the pie of the week, which is leek, gammon and Gruyère cheese (£13.80) and opt for a side of sweet potato wedges.

Tom chooses the roasted hake curry with toasted coconut and shallot crisps (£16.50).

It takes less than 10 minutes for the dishes to arrive, both enticingly presented.

I always feel a bit cheated on the pastry-filling ratio when the sides of a pie are the ceramic dish, but the filling itself tastes delicious - generously packed with top-quality gammon.

I am a bit disappointed by the lack of a sauce inside, but the meat is still tender enough.

My sweet potato wedges are a bit oily but still taste great, especially when dipped in the tangy lime mayonnaise served next to them.

Tom's curry is flavourful but we agree it does not top the fish curry at out favourite Thai restaurant in Oxford.

The waiter did not ask if we had enjoyed our meals - given that service charge is added to the bill automatically, I would have appreciated more attentive interactions.

Still, we enjoyed the high-quality ingredients and inventive menu options, and the pub itself is stunning.

The Black Horse, Cornmarket, Thame, 01844 219050.