I SHOULD have known from the two little chillies on the menu.

I love Thai food – I live for Thai food – but despite its fiery reputation I'm actually in it for the sweet treats, and have managed to avoid the really dangerous diners.

In fact, I've even been to a Giggling Squid before in Bath, and it was one of my favourite Thai meals I'd ever had, so when I heard they were opening a branch in Oxford I was could not wait.

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The evening even started off well, as we were warmly welcomed up the steps into what used to be Loch Fyne on Walton Street.

Several waiters vied for our attention, bringing drinks then piquant ochre prawn crackers with a sweet chilli sauce.

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When we went to the Bath branch, I had started with a mind-blowingly good soft shell crab in tamarind sauce, so I was gutted to see it had been dropped from the latest menu.

Instead, I went for the Lemon and Lime Tuna Petals (£7.75).

This arrived and turned out to be delicate strips of tuna Carpaccio (uncooked), delicately laid out in a flower-like formation, drizzled with a mouthwateringly addictive sticky, sweet and slightly explosive sauce.

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Katie, meanwhile, had her favourite Thai salad – a tall bowl filled with chewy tendrils of papaya and other exotic vegetables and fruits sat in another sweet, hot sauce.

It was all just enough to bring you out in a light sweat – clear the airways – while still being delicious. It was all going so well – until the main course.

As I said, I should, of course, have checked the two chillies on the menu – but I didn't.

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Instead, I just saw the name Bold Krachai Prawns (£14.50), and the description involving the 'robust flavour' of sliced krachai, galangal, lime leaves and fresh peppercorn.

From the moment it arrived I had my suspicions: the threatening brown sauce awash with chilli flakes.

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Katie had the much more sensible 'Healthkick tuna steak', with more papaya.

I took a first spoonful, and it was literally like trying to eat a volcano.

I took a second mouthful and accidentally bit into a clutch of green peppercorns which seemed to set my eyeballs on fire.

I went to the bathroom twice; came back; ordered two more cooling elderflower cordials, and still the fire burned. Katie told me at one point she had never seen me so pink.

It's not that it was badly cooked – the textures were nice (I think), but I'm not sure the flavours were quite worth the suffering.

After all that, I had to have ice cream and some cooling fresh fruit which came with a melting heart chocolate dessert (£5.95). I couldn't taste it, but it helped ease the pain.

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