WELL, it might look a rather austere, unassuming sort of building, standing as it does on a road named The Ridings, which passes straight through Stonesfield, but don't let appearances fool you.

The White Horse is a splendid little pub, which offers old-fashioned hospitality, great beer, and jolly good food.

It stood empty for several years.

Villagers feared it would become a victim of redevelopment. Then to their relief, London showbiz agent Richard Starowski took it over. His search to find the perfect pub, the renovations and the reopening were all filmed for the Channel 4's Life Begins Again series.

I was visiting the Stonesfield area with my archaeologist friend Jane, from London.

She was interested in visiting the site of the Roman villa which can be found along a track just outside East End.

As The White Horse is but a mile or two away, it seemed the obvious place to stop for an early dinner, once we had viewed the remains of the villa.

Had we taken the dog with us, no doubt we would have walked the track from the villa to the River Evenlode and on to Stonesfield, which is one of his favourite walks. Actually, there are so many lovely walks in this area, you are spoiled for choice. Both the Oxfordshire Way and Akeman Street, a major Roman road, that linked London to the Fosse Way, at Cirencester, are nearby.

You enter The White Horse through a side door, which leads to a small public bar area. It in turn leads to the dining area, which is best described as being decorated in a minimalist fashion. An eclectic mix for chairs and tables, and a large mirror at the far end give it character, so do the oil paintings by local artist Fredrica Craig. A stone head of what appears to be Aphrodite stands in the fireplace. The beams, that dominate the ceiling, have been painted white, which accentuates the minimalist look.

Two beers, Wadsworth's 6X and Hooky Bitter, were on tap. I went for the Hooky, which is a nice smooth beer, while Jane enjoyed what she described as one of the most fragrant glasses of Sauvignon she had tasted in a long while. The menu is not extensive, which is something I always take as a good sign, as this usually means each dish is prepared from scratch, as it was in this case. Nothing comes out of the freezer in this pub.

Starters include tomato and basil soup (£4.75), chicken and tarragon terrine with leaves (£4.75), and asparagus with Gribiche sauce, at £4.75.

Main meals include hooky battered fish, hand-cut chips and pea puree (£9.95), butternut risotto with sage and parmesan (£9.95), locally matured home-made beef burger with bacon and mozzarella and hand-cut chips (£8.95), and roast chicken breast with lemon, rosemary and garlic, green beans, and crushed new potatoes, at £10.95.

I chose the lamb chops with mint sauce (£10.95), pictured, which came as three delicious chops, which had been chargrilled to perfection, sitting on a mound of crushed new potatoes, delicately infused with mint. Because I adore home-made chips, I ordered an extra portion (£2.50), also a portion of green beans (£2.50), as my dish came with no vegetables other than the potatoes. These side orders added a further £5 to the price of my meal. That's my only gripe actually, having to order a green vegetable as an extra. Bread (£2) was priced as an extra too.

Jane munched her way through a chargrilled rib-eye steak, served with devilled butter, nutmeg, and thyme mushrooms, and hand-cut chips (£14.95), which she enjoyed immensely.

We concluded the meal with coffee. I had a double espresso (£2.50), and she chose a latte (£2). It was certainly an excellent meal.