IN November 2017, the kitchen of the Swan restaurant at Tetsworth was gutted in a fire sparked by a fridge.

French owners Antoine and Camille Chretien were forced to shut, but after a rapid refurb reopened eight months later in June 2018 with a grand party.

Then on January 4 this year the couple announced on Facebook: "Due to the discourteous attitude of our landlords, we have no alternative but to, very sadly, close our doors at The Swan."

Read again: The Swan seduced us with real French flair

The discourtesy was a hike in the rent which they felt was so steep they no longer wanted to stay in the building.

After thanking customers for all their support over the past six years, the managers added: "We will of course reopen very nearby, and very shortly too."

Just under a month later on February 2, the Chretiens announced that they were opening a new restaurant just three miles away in Great Haseley, at the former Plough pub.

The site is exactly one mile (a 20-minute walk) from one of the world's most famous French restaurants – Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons.

Read again: Is Le Manoir really worth the money?

Antoine and Cammile have named their new restaurant La Table d'Alix, a reference to the other massive upheaval in their life – their new baby girl Alix.

Having grown to love the Swan, I was dying to see its new incarnation.

Arriving at sunset on Friday, Antoine welcomes us, baby on his arm, the same bon viveur as always, but buzzing with a new energy.

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The new restaurant area is smaller than The Swan, but also cosier - the chandelier which hung majestically over the old dining room is now the dazzling head-height centrepiece.

Antoine reveals his two chefs, Jeremy and Pascal (from Marseille and Paris) have both come with them from the Swan, along with a former chef of the Michelin-starred Oxford Kitchen.

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Talking of Michelin Stars, we also naturally get onto the subject of England's most famous French chef, whose world-famous restaurant and hotel Antoine and Camille have just moved next door to.

When asked, Antoine reveals Raymond is something of an old friend – he started out picking up glasses at Brasserie Blanc in Jericho.

What's more, within days of opening La Table d'Alix, a whole table full of staff from Le Manoir popped in to try out the new place, with favourable reviews (adding to those from star chefs such as Marco Pierre White and Mary Berry who dined at the Swan).

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With the accolades piling on top of one another, our mouths are watering so we get on with the business of the night.

For an amuse bouche we order three tiny loafs of oven-warm breads (£4), served on a slate with three decorative whorls of butter each with its own colourful topping: a zingy orange chilli powder, a salt made with red wine grapes and old-fashioned fleur de sel. All are parfait.

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For my entree I go for the native lobster raviole, cognac lobster bisque, Isigny fresh cream and leek fondue (£14).

The single giant ravioli is stuffed with warm lobster filling; the leek fondue gives a sharp counterpoint and the fragrant cream on top gives freshness.

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Opposite me the seared queen Scottish scallops with watercress veloute and white garlic puree (£14) are perfectly cooked. The Bayonne ham crisps might be too salty for some but I find them dangerously moreish.

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For my main, the Cornish cod loin is served with white bean, chorizo, chilli and mussels cassoulet (£24).

The fish peels apart in silky but subtly-flavoured flakes with the al dente beans, salty chorizo and jelly-like mussels adding a zing.

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The bouillabaisse across from me, boasting sea bass, monkfish, red mullet, garlic croutons, rouille and saffron potatoes (£29), is soundly demolished.

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Having feared at the start of the night that we might overindulge, we are still raring to go at this point and my companion can't resist the Bourbon vanilla creme brulee (£9) which he disappears expertly.

I, meanwhile, go for the Artisan French cheese board (£14) which comes piled high with fresh sliced grapes, slivers of dried apricot, date and fig atop tangy cheese biscuits and five cheeses.

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The best was my old favourite from the Swan and a speciality from Antoine's native Normandy – Camembert in breadcrumbs marinated in Calvados.

Antoine at one point jokes about how, a few days after moving in at Great Haseley, he saw a very nice car crawl past the building and the face of a certain famous French neighbour peering in, apparently scoping out the competition.

And, if one is looking for fine French cuisine in a warm, welcoming setting a stone's throw from Oxford, then competition for Le Manoir this most certainly is.