Despite being a long term South Oxfordshire resident, Wallingford is as unfamiliar as Wisconsin to me, WRITES JAMES ROBERTS.

So a first visit to the town-centre restaurant, The Old Post Office, was a trip into the unknown in more ways than one.

The grade II listed building is, you'll be surprised to know, the former home of the town’s post office, and looks out onto the market square.

Pleasingly, the restaurant hasn’t just taken the name and ripped out all the original elements - a red post box still sits outside in the front courtyard.

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Walk through the front door and you step into a classy bar area, with the restaurant opening out beyond that.

The kitchen is in the restaurant itself but is nothing more than a backdrop, with the chefs diligently going about their business metres from diners.

As expected on a Friday night, it was relatively busy and I silently thanked myself for booking a table, avoiding the dreaded rejection - and, more importantly, my own cooking.

We were shown to our seats on the end of a row of couples tables, near a party of about a dozen.

They weren’t especially loud, but their presence added to the noisy atmosphere.

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The menu has a range of dishes, several of which are vegan or gluten free, including a breakfast menu.

For me, it struck the right balance between ‘posh’ food, like Josper-grilled seabass with courgette and pepper, sweet potato hash, kale and pumpkin seed pesto, and hearty favourites, like Sunday roasts and burgers.

We opted for a starter rather than a dessert and were impressed by the range of options, including nibbles and sharers.

The Greek mezze plate (£14) caught the eye and it quickly arrived on the table in front of us.

On a tray sat marinated feta, red pepper and garlic hummus, marinated stone-in olives, tzatziki, gem lettuce, puccia bread, Josper-grilled courgette and pepper.

If I was being super fussy, I would say the two pieces of bread weren’t quite enough, especially considering the generous servings of hummus and tzatziki.

But we had very few complaints otherwise and, while I originally balked at the cost, on reflection it was a fair price considering there was easily enough for two.

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The main course arrived just as quickly, which meant pumpkin ravioli for me (£13.50) and a parma pizza (£12.50) for Georgia.

I took a long look at the pizza and burger menus, but for some reason the ravioli really caught my eye - and I'm so glad it did.

I'm not an expert on food by any stretch of the imagination, but as a lifelong pasta lover I like to think I know my fusilli from my conchiglie.

The ravioli was beautifully cooked and the squash butter melted into the pasta.

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A scattering of toasted pumpkin seeds and rocket offered a different texture to the meal, which was unsurprisingly devoured.

Meanwhile, Georgia crowned her pizza 'one of the best I've ever had'. Enough said.

I stole a slice and can confirm it was real quality. Not at all greasy and exactly the right proportions of cheese, tomato and the other toppings, which were prosciutto, rocket, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and extra virgin olive oil.

Everything was perfect - except for the noise.

It was just too loud - with a relatively noisy bar, chattering in the restaurant, the party next to us and music on top, that's unsurprising.

Neither the clientele nor the venue are boisterous, but Georgia and I were almost shouting at each other from across the table.

This proved disastrous when the waiter came to take our plates, when, from a few feet away, we mistook 'can I take your plates' for 'would you like to see the dessert menu' (who knows how).

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We shook our heads and he walked away, probably quite puzzled.

As a result, the next 10 minutes were spent frantically trying to catch his eye, until he eventually returned to the table and we asked for the bill.

The situation was funny at the time, but it backed up our thoughts that it was just too noisy.

I would still definitely recommend The Old Post Office - but might buy some ear defenders before my next visit.

The Old Post Office, St Martin's St, Wallingford OX10 0AA