Mark and Kay Chandler’s 500-year-old former chantry house is steeped in history and has been a pub since 1580 when St John’s College in Oxford leased it to tenants but reserved the right to ‘occupy it if driven from Oxford by pestilence’ – so far this has not been invoked! The building is breathtaking and boasts a grand hall with a 15th-century arch-braced roof, original oak beams, flagstone floors, and huge stone-flanked windows. For a table with a view there’s still a splendid 30ft high minstrels’ gallery overlooking the restaurant. Study the wonderful history and architecture over a pint of local Loose Cannon Abingdon Bridge, Loddon Hullabaloo or Sharp’s Doom Bar, or one of the 14 wines served by the glass in the character bar – in winter arrive early to bag the table beside the roaring fire. Awarded two AA Rosettes for his food, chef/owner Mark is steadfast in his pursuit of fresh, seasonal food from trusted local suppliers and their own kitchen garden provides a regular supply of fruit and vegetables. Mark’s cooking reveals a high level of technical skill and his menus change daily, perhaps featuring rabbit, langoustine and artichoke crumble, wild garlic crust; or sweet potato and orange soup among the starters. To follow, try slow-roasted belly of Kelmscott pork, apple, carrots, celeriac purée, crackling and cider jus; or roast skate wing, sea vegetables, new potatoes and cockle butter. Then sticky rum and date sponge, hazelnut tuille, caramelised bananas. Antipasti or meze sharing boards are great for nibbles. The lunchtime set menu is great value.