IT is weird to think, driving around Boars Hill in 2019, what a different world it was 100 years ago.

Aside from the fact that it was in Berkshire, until the late 19th century this viewpoint over Oxford was almost completely naked of trees and its sole population a scattering of farm workers’ cottages.

It’s even weirder to think it was once roamed by the wild boar from which it takes its name.

Today, Boars Hill is home to numerous exotic animals in private hands, including emu, llama and reindeer, but not, it seems, boar.

This contrast of tradition and modernity is brought together today in its sole pub, the appropriately animalistic Fox.

Although the inn’s website says it dates back to the 1930s, the building is much older than that, and I love the way you have to duck under the aged wooden beams to explore the rabbit warren of rooms on various different levels.

And, at the bar which greets you on arrival, you can get a good-old fashioned real ale, glass of wine or a G&T.

When I and my friend Harry arrive on a busy Sunday lunchtime, the waitress asks if we’d like to get a drink before we sit down, to which we say gratefully assent.

When Harry then asks for a G&T the waitress doesn’t even listen so he has to order it again when she's ready.

She makes up for it when, after filling the glass with ice, Harry says he didn’t ask for any ice and she cheerfully tips the cubes out to order.

This cheeriness combined with not quite getting things right turns out to be pattern for our visit.

After we’re led through to our table, we open the menus to find it’s again a near miss: for the Sunday roast options you can get beef, chicken or squash, but your can’t get pork (Harry’s favourite) unless you get the £33 pork sharing feast for two with three different types of pig.

This disappointment is almost alleviated when he spots pork crackling with apple sauce as a starter, but when we order, it turns out they’ve run out.

He goes instead for a duck liver paté with a pineapple and mustard seed chutney (£6.50) and I go for Devon crab and sweetcorn fishcakes (£7.75).

They arrive quickly and mine is delicious - crunchy crisp cakes with sweet fish accompanied by piquant red chilli and a cooling ginger crème fraîche.

The paté goes down well opposite, though there’s far too much for a starter.

Having got off to a slightly bumpy start, we then sat and waited what we estimated was half an hour for our mains.

After I flagged down a member of staff who turned out to be the general manager, she was apologetic, explaining that they had just had to serve a very large table, and said our mains would be six minutes exactly.

She then brought the glass of wine I’d ordered half an hour before, placing it down and saying ‘no problem’ though, as Harry pointed out, if you have to wait half an hour for a glass of wine in a restaurant there very much is a problem.

About ten minutes later our mains arrived.

Harry had gone for a simple beer battered fish and chips which came with mushy peas and tartare sauce (£13.50).

On the menu next to this dish was a suggestion - ‘Add a Wally’ which was priced at £1.

Any ideas?

Neither of us had a clue was this meant, but on asking the GM it turned out this was a northern expression for a battered pickled gherkin.

It made for a fun conversation point, but it turned out almost every other person who had ever ordered the fish and chips had had to ask the same question.

For my main I had pan-fried seabass with brown crab and leek crushed potatoes, and a white wine cream (£16.50).

This was exquisite - crispy salty skin with succulent fish beneath, a lip-smacking sweet sauce, and the crab crushed potatoes were inspired.

If it were based on the food alone I’d have given the Fox five stars, and even the service we had was friendly and good-humoured (which is much better, I think, than being surly and apologetic if you’re having a difficult day) but really, the kitchen needs to be able to cope with a full house.

If we’d had to wait any longer, I might not go back. As it was, the food was so good I would have to give them at least one more chance.