THE moment I found out there was a Cambodian restaurant in Oxfordshire, I had to go.

Regular readers will know I am a devotee of all Oriental cuisine and in this county alone I have had Thai, Japanese, Cantonese, Vietnamese and Korean.

Cambodian, however, was a new concept to me – indeed, one fan of the form reviewing a Cambodian restaurant in London on TripAdvisor in 2015 said there was just one other in the UK (in Cheshire).

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Just to make Witney's even more improbable, it is located in the old Carpenters Arms pub.

Witney Gazette:

When we arrive at 1pm on Sunday, the restaurant is deathly quiet, and we are warmly greeted by the tiny Cambodian lady who turns out to be the founder (along with her husband) Boroth Phok.

She brings menus and there is nothing that I recognise.

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One thing I do understand is the price – the quick lunch menu, including a starter, a main course and a soft drink, is just £10: I need no further persuasion.

I go for the Angkor cauliflower to start ('battered cauliflower glazed with sticky Siracha sauce', three chillies hot) and then the Cha Kdaov (sautéed lemongrass paste with chilli, peppers, onion, long beans, sweet basil and roasted peanuts; two chillies hot at my request).

Witney Gazette:

You can order this main to be made with pork, chicken, beef or tofu, but I go for the fifth option - seitan: this a magical meat substitute that I recently discovered made from gluten - the protein in wheat.

The next surprise of the meal was that all of our choices arrived on one big plate - starter, main and a neat cake of rice.

My cauliflower was delicious: sweet and sticky in its fluorescent orange sauce with a thin, light layer of batter around tender cauliflower florets sprinkled with sesame seeds and spring onions.

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In terms of spiciness this was right on the threshold of my tolerance but sweet enough to enjoy.

The seitan was perfectly booked in another hot, sweet sauce with perfectly-cooked vegetables.

My companion had a dish with pork and cashew nuts and some very familiar mini spring rolls and a dipping sauce.

Witney Gazette:

When I ask if there is a dessert menu Boroth says "Just sticky black rice!" This sounded pretty unappetising as a sweet course, but I had to have it.

It arrived, a tall-stemmed wine glass filled with black goop with a white cream on top sprinkled with more sesame seeds.

It turned out to be quite nice: the combination of the starchy, sweet rice and the warm creamy milk was a lot like a mouthful of warm fruit crumble with cream.

Witney Gazette:

As we pay the extremely reasonable bill (£28 for two starters, two mains, a dessert, a soft drink and a beer), Boroth explains that they started offering the £10 menu because not many people were coming in at lunchtime.

However they only opened six months ago, so word is clearly still getting around, and I'm very happy to say that while we were having lunch on Sunday the restaurant did fill up with a decent number of people, including local councillor Laura Price who, given her work, will hopefully be able to spread the word.

This restaurant is clearly as much of an adventure for the family who have opened it as for their first customers daring to try something new: yes some of the food is spicy, and the names are unfamiliar, but a warm, welcoming host serving grub they know is good at very reasonable prices is a universal language, and I will certainly be going back for more adventures.