THE part of this review naming the establishment where I had eaten should not be difficult – but on this occasion it is not as straightforward.

Technically, I ate at the Crown & Thistle on Bridge Street in Abingdon.

But I did not dine in the hotel itself, instead opting to take a seat in the bar area on the opposite side of the cobbled courtyard, known to everyone in Abingdon as The Stocks.

It really doesn’t matter though, as wherever I chose to sit, the food would have been the same; sophisticated, flavoursome and fulfilling.

The Grade II listed building dates back to 1605 and, although numerous renovations have taken place since, there are still several of the original features visible.

It was surprisingly quiet when we took our seats early on Saturday evening, but this turned out to be a blessing in disguise with other engagements meaning time was of the essence.

The menu is uncomplicated, but offers plenty of variety, which caused a delay in ordering as we weighed up the options.

We decided to share the Gambas Pil Pil to start, a bowl of sauteed king prawns cooked with garlic, chilli, wine and tomato sauce (£7.50).

Accompanied by some heavenly artisan Italian puccia bread, it was the perfect opening.

For the main, we were both keen to try dishes cooked in the charcoal-fuelled Josper grill.

The pollo picante – half a boneless chicken with chipotle mayonnaise, roasted Marzanino tomatoes, dressed rocket, house fries – was a real winner (£16).

The meat was cooked perfectly and had just the right amount of spice; although it did also contain one very small piece of bone, which was not expected.

The chicken burger, served with lime, chipotle and yoghurt marinated chicken breast, dill pickle, gem lettuce, tomato, red onion marmalade and chipotle mayonnaise, also hit the spot (£14).

Bursting with flavour, the tender chicken was soon devoured, with conversation at a premium while each mouthful was savoured.

A group at an adjacent table were singing the praises of their freshly-made pizza as we departed, thoroughly satisfied with our evening.

Wherever it was we were eating.

l The Crown & Thistle/Stocks Bar, Bridge Street, Abingdon. 01235 522556.