ITS ye olde exterior would make a postcard-perfect picture of a quintessential English pub, standing out from the terracotta-coloured brick of its neighbours in Thame's Cornmarket.

But despite the building's centuries-old history, The Birdcage Inn is current and stylish inside - the sort of decor my mum might describe as 'trendy.'

Ornamental birdcages and birdcage drawings are scattered around the restaurant area, on brand with the pub's name, cosily lit with lamps and strings of fairy lights.

Television screens were showing sport as we arrived and, with a big match on, the bar was getting busy.

We had booked ahead on a weekday evening but need not have, as the dining area was almost empty.

The pub's unique selling point is that its menu is offered in partnership with Pieminister, the award-winning pie company with restaurants across the country, including in Oxford's Covered Market.

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According to the Pieminister website, it has almost 60 'pie pubs' across England - just one of which is in Oxfordshire.

Given that fact, it seemed rude not to order anything other than a pie, although the menu also offered a selection of sourdough pizzas.

Those with a big appetite are encouraged to try 'the Mothership' for £12 - a tower of mash topped with a pie of your choosing, minty mushy peas and gravy, cheese and crispy shallots.

Too daunted by that idea, I went for the more simple pie, mash, mushy peas and gravy (£11).

Tom ordered the 'Moo and Blue' - a beef steak and Stilton pie - while I chose the Fandango summer special, packed with chicken, chorizo, olives and butter beans.

We shared free range pork scratchings to start (£3.50) and did not regret it - they were deliciously salty and crisp, presented alongside a tangy apple and ginger chutney.

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When our mains arrived I was pleased to see they were 'proper' pies with a pastry crust all the way around, not just a pastry topping inside a ceramic dish as is often the case.

There was a generous portion of peas but I left most of mine, having found the mint flavour too overpowering.

The mash was smooth and tasty but the main event, the pie itself, was a little disappointing given that I was expecting the best pie of my life.

Both the menu and website had promised 'delicious' flavour with 'exceptionally good pastry,' but I found the latter to be a little dense and the filling to be quite dry.

Paired with gravy it was pleasant enough, but I have had better.

I would return to enjoy the surroundings, the reasonably-priced drinks and a snack, but the pies alone are not enough to keep me coming back.

The Birdcage Inn, Cornmarket, Thame, 01844 217911.