On a cold Thursday night after a long week, I wanted nothing more than some good pub grub, writes JAMES ROBERTS.

I had driven past the Cherry Tree on Steventon High Street countless times and was hoping for the warm atmosphere and hearty food that I was craving.

We arrived shortly before 7 and I was pleasantly surprised to see it was already reasonably busy.

The layout was what you would expect from a village pub: low ceilings, low lighting and slightly confusing to a new customer.

We hovered awkwardly on one side of the bar as we waited to be served and after about five minutes were eventually noticed.

We ordered a couple of drinks from the polite but not hugely attentive bar staff before being pointed towards a table.

The main menu was a who’s-who of pub classics, plus a smattering of vegetarian and vegan options.

One such dish was the garlic mushrooms in a creamy white wine and tarragon sauce on toast (£6.25), a starter we shared alongside the grilled king prawns in a lemon, roasted pepper and herb butter (£7.95).

The mushrooms were well-cooked but not overdone, while the sauce was not as rich as we feared.

The texture blended well with the bread, which was inevitably a little soft but did not fall apart.

While that starter came out above expectations, I was slightly disappointed by the prawns.

I felt they could have been better seasoned, while more salad was needed to justify the price.

For our main course, we both went for one of the four specials.

As a fake vegetarian who definitely does not eat meat once in a while, I went for the vegan cottage pie, topped with mashed potato and vegan cheese and served with vegetables (£10.95).

It could have been better presented and was a little dry on top, but was quite flavoursome when you reached the middle and not overpriced.

We also chose the 10oz gammon steak with free range egg, grilled tomato, dressed leaves and chips (£12.30), which filled a hole.

There was an intimidating amount of gammon (not necessarily a bad thing), although it was a little overcooked, but the chips – crispy on the outside but soft in the middle – were excellent.

It encapsulated our experience at this no frills pub, where the disappointing aspects were cancelled out by some redeeming factors.

  • Cherry Tree, 33 High St, Steventon, Abingdon OX13 6RZ. 01235 831222