THE first I ever knew of the Swan at Tetsworth's existence was in November 2017, when Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service put out a press release saying they had been called to a major fire there.

The blaze, which was later discovered to have been sparked by a faulty fridge, destroyed the kitchen of one of Oxfordshire's most highly-regarded French restaurants.

Over the next eight months, proprietors Antoine Chretien and Camille Veron rebuilt.

In July last year they were at long last able to host their grand reopening party, giving the invited guests a tantalising taste of their new chef, Jonas Lodge.

In pictures: The Grand reopening of the Swan at Tetsworth

However, just weeks later, Jonas and the Swan parted ways, leaving Antoine and Camille to find another new chef.

Finally, this spring, nearly 18 months after the fire, the Swan was able to rise again from the ashes, with the website now boasting a menu lovingly prepared with top local ingredients by their 'chefs' plural.

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When you go to the Swan, you feel like you have travelled back to the golden age of England that Nigel Farage dreams of at night: as you turn the corner into the village of Tetsworth you are greeted by an enormous village green, permanently bathed in late-afternoon sunlight, where villagers play ball games and lie on the grass like a scene from a PG Wodehouse novel.

The Swan itself, with its beautifully-tended garden, glows orange and well-heeled punters in cars more expensive than my house pull regally in and out of the car park.

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Unable to resist the rays of the setting sun, we start off in the garden with appropriately French Ricards and cheese board (£14) decorated with figs, dates and leaves.

The secret weapon is a camembert soaked for several days in calvados which, as Antoine explains to us, is a matter of personal pride, as both the cheese and the brandy come, like him, from Normandy.

After we order our food we are brought yet another amuse bouche – a complimentary quartet of smoked salmon brioche triangles which are lighter than air.

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Just as the sun is setting on old England, our waitress informs us that dinner is served so we file into the rustic dining room, where couples chat quietly at bare wooden tables under the rather magnificent chanedlier, through which the last rays of daylight are refracted into a hundred tiny rainbows on the wall.

To start, I go for the Queen Scottish scallops, sweet potato puree, tomato and coriander with lime salsa (£14).

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Looking back, I'm not sure the dish was quite what I expected - the potato puree certainly wasn't made of orange sweet potatoes as I'd imagined, though maybe they just meant 'a potato puree that is sweet', which it was; the lime salsa came in delicate drops and the decorative tuiles weren't mentioned on the menu at all. As such it was all a bit more traditional than I'd imagined, but very nice all the same.

One of our party daringly went for the pate de foie gras (to loud tuts from other quarters) with caramelised orange, citrus sauce and ginger bread (£17) which I was lucky enough to get a taste of - this looked like an oil painting and turned out to be extremely sweet but melt-in-the-mouth.

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For my main course, I went for the special - moules mariniere covered with cream and served with chips (I didn't ask the price, sorry). These were again nice and subtly seasoned - a subtlety possibly wasted on those of us who eat Indian curries and sticky Thai takeaways at every opportunity.

My carnivorous companion who had devoured the foie gras went for the smoked local beef fillet with grilled asparagus, morel and more foie gras served with pomme de terre sarladaise (£25) and immediately declared it the best piece of beef he had eaten in five years.

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Elsewhere at the table the tarte fine of seasonal vegetables and the bouillabaisse were demolished in contented silence.

Somehow still raring to go, we let ourselves be seduced by the dessert menu.

My eye was seized by the spiced poached pineapple, white chocolate mascarpone, mango coulis and sable Breton - a sort of French shortbread (£9).

What I had imagined was a big ring of golden-brown pineapple covered in a rich sauce with piquant tropical tangs and a heavy chocolate side.

Yet again, what I got was a more sophisticated dish - squeaky-clean stacks of fruit and compact little whorls of cheese.

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If you like refined French cuisine, then the Swan is the perfect night out. If, like me, your tastebuds have been spoilt by years of spicy curries, you might find yourself occasionally reaching for the salt and pepper.

The thing that you will love is the place itself: Antoine and Camille are excellent, attentive hosts and all of the staff are friendly, natural and happy to chat. The relaxed atmosphere alone, like going over to a friend's house for dinner, is reason enough to go back time and again, and we will.