IT IS always a particular pleasure to discover a hidden gem right on your own doorstep. And so it was when I went along to The Maytime Inn in Asthall, near Burford.

The Maytime Inn has it all, a welcoming bar and restaurant and six stylish, comfortable en-suite rooms. Dominic Wood took it over just over a year ago.

He studied construction project management at Oxford Brookes University, but found he enjoyed the work he was doing in a busy Oxford pub more than the subject he was studying.

Dominic was determined to run his own restaurant and found the Maytime Inn online and saw its huge potential immediately. He has worked tirelessy to revamp it and give it a new look and feel, and he and his team clearly love what they do.

We were welcomed by the charming Mickael from Biarritz, whose beautiful accent made us go quite weak-kneed. We settled down at our table, very glad of the nearby log burner. Warm homemade rolls and good butter arrived, always a positive sign.

As well as traditional British fare, the menu includes dishes with a Balinese twist because head chef Dewa Anggarayasa is from that beautiful Indonesian island.

I am always slightly anxious about ‘a twist’ unless it is being done by the lovely Artem on Strictly Come Dancing — it can be tricky beast to pull off successfully. However, we were keen to experience something a bit different, so twisting it was.

Our choices came from the main a la carte menu and they have a great fixed price lunch and Sunday lunch menu too. Recently launched is Chef Dewa’s World Spice Tour meal every Tuesday, taking in places as diverse as South Korea, Cuba and Morocco for a very reasonable £12 per head.

I started with confit of duck leg with spiced blackberry and peach, fruit salsa and toasted sesame. Karin went for home-cured gravlax with a dukkah-topped poached egg (dukkah is an Egyptian spice and nut mix), saffron sauce and avruga caviar, a completely sustainable product because it’s made from herring and squid ink, not fish roe.

The salmon was a vibrant deep pink, due to the beetroot purée that was part of the curing process, and Karin clearly enjoyed every mouthful. She said the salmon was soft and full of flavour, perfectly complemented by the exotic spiciness of the other elements.

My duck was crispy on the outside, softly yielding inside, with an elegant combination of the earthy blackberry, sweet peach and crispy apple. Seasonal, creative, a real winner.

We both chose fish for our main course. I has the Bali fish steamed in a banana leaf with saffron rice, pak choi and sambal, and Karin went for yellowfin tuna with dry miso, rice noodles, seafood laksa and nori. Mine was a sort of sophisticated seafood sausage made from pangasius (a type of catfish), tiger prawn tails and red snapper.

It was spicy and moist with a well-judged satay-style sauce. Karin’s tuna was cooked perfectly, her noodles came in a stylish leaf parcel and her sauce had a real kick to it.

She thought that perhaps the fish was slightly over-seasoned, but otherwise it was a great combination and elegantly presented.

For dessert Karin went with the Balinese influence again for black rice pudding with coconut milk, pandana leaf and palm sugar. It was deliciously different, a chewy texture, not overly sweet, with the creaminess of the coconut milk melting into it and a perfectly poached fig served alongside it.

I chose tumbled cheesecake with kiwi, papaya, mango and redcurrant syrup. What constituted the tumbling, I wondered?

When the dish arrived all was revealed. Instead of the usual wedge of cheesecake, the curd was tumbling out of an upturned glass across a black slate, and had been scattered with the fruit and garnished with edible flower petals (pictured above). It was a work of art and I am pleased to report it tasted divine too.

A deliciously different meal in stylish surroundings. I am happy to report that the ‘twist’ was perfectly executed — this judge would give it a ten without hesitation.

The Maytime Inn, Asthall, near Burford. call 01993 822068 or see