IF its Facebook page is anything to go by, packed full of posts of beaming brides in ivory dresses, Steventon House Hotel is a wedding venue above anything else.

Although photos of its catering spreads at events looked tempting, I remained doubtful that its restaurant offering would be anything more than an afterthought.

Having driven past countless times, however, and spied the attractive country manor-esque building behind the trees, curiosity outweighed my reservations.

The hotel's restaurant used to be Rasoi, pitched as a modern Indian eatery for the more adventurous diner.

That changed last year (or perhaps the year before) to Mortimers, described on the hotel's website as 'a great neighbourhood eatery' offering 'modern British classics and the latest international trends'.

We booked a table for two on Thursday night, last-minute, and were hopeful as we crunched across the gravel to the entrance - the bar looked invitingly stylish through the window, brightly-lit with a turquoise and silver colour scheme.

As it is just a three-minute drive from the Milton Interchange, there is lots of passing traffic, but there are only a couple of vehicles in the car park.

A friendly receptionist pointed us towards the restaurant, opposite the entrance desk, which is attractively decorated with plush chairs and floor-to-ceiling filigree panels.

As we had feared from outside, we found it to be completely empty of any fellow diners.

There were probably about a dozen tables, all neatly laid with cutlery and glasses, but not a soul was sat around them.

A waitress appears and shows us to the window table, thankfully next to a radiator as the room felt a little cold.

Tom ordered a pint of Becks (£4.35) and a small glass of Sauvignon blanc for me, which was the cheapest white wine option at £5.25.

Despite the lack of chatter around us, the restaurant was not completely devoid of atmosphere - the lighting was dim enough to not feel clinical, although a couple of candles would not have gone amiss.

Romantic songs were playing in the background but the soundtrack turned out to be courtesy of Smooth FM, meaning the music was repeatedly interrupted during the night by a stream of irritating adverts.

Our drinks arrived promptly and, noticing our menus were still open, the waitress gave us a few more minutes to decide on food choices.

The menu offered an eclectic mix, with 10 main dishes varying from chicken curry (£15.95) to sirloin steak (£20).

Meat seemed to be a big focus on the menu, offering carnivores options such as a cheese burger (£13.50), beef bourguignon (£15.50) or pork belly (£15.95).

There is just the one vegetarian dish on the main course list, of Thai vegetable curry with jasmine rice (£13.50).

I ordered the sea bass with grain mustard mash, wilted spinach and a white wine sauce (£16.95), while Tom went for the lamb chops with dauphinoise potatoes, rosemary jus and steamed vegetables (£15.95).

I usually find that quiet periods in restaurants go one way or the other - sometimes the service is awful, as staff are either too bored or busy chatting to remember they have a customer.

Thankfully that was not the case at Mortimers, where we experienced prompt and professional service - even when the waitress had to prepare the tables for breakfast the following morning, she was careful not to clatter about and make us feel like we had outstayed our welcome.

She soon brings out our food, and our admittedly low expectations were shattered: both dishes smelled mouth-wateringly good and the presentation was excellent.

The moment of truth came with the first bite, after which we exchanged wide-eyed looks of pleasant surprise.

My fish was cooked perfectly, succulent and subtly-seasoned, with a glossy sauce and fiery bite of fresh watercress as a garnish.

Tom devoured his in disbelief, and later pondered that it was probably the best lamb he has ever eaten.

He allowed me a stingy bite and I had to agree it was delicious, although the portion size was a bit on the small side for his appetite.

Perhaps we just arrived on an unusually quiet night but I would have loved to have seen the place busier, as it has great potential.

To think that this clearly very capable chef might have been wasting his or her talents in the kitchen all night, only to serve a couple of dishes, is such a shame. Steventon House Hotel, Milton Hill, 01235 831223.