A RESTAURANT plagued by an initial poor hygiene report has closed in Abingdon after serving diners for less than two years.

Wildwood Kitchen opened in April 2016 on Bury Street as the latest addition to the small Italian restaurant chain, which has branches in Bicester, Didcot and Wantage.

But things got off to a poor start for the Abingdon branch when inspectors at Vale of White Horse District Council criticised Wildwood for not cooking burgers thoroughly just a month after opening.

The restaurant was issued a two-star hygiene rating after it was also found high-risk food was not been kept at the right temperature and there was the potential for pests to get in to the building.

An inspector's report said: "The counter top fridges used for pizza toppings and garnish are holding food above eight degrees Celsius.

"Bolognese was 10 degrees Celsius and cooked chicken was 12 degrees Celsius. You must ensure high-risk food is stored below eight degrees Celsius.

"Keep the back door closed to prevent access to pests. I recommend a screen is installed so air can still circulate."

At the time manager Kristiana Geneva insisted changes had been quickly made and when it was reinspected in October 2016, the restaurant earned a higher rating of four stars out of a possible five.

Speaking to the Oxford Mail about the score in July, managing director of Wildwood, Jo Bargery, said the issue had never been about cleanliness adding: "With restaurants everybody looks at the rating and not what that means. People might think it's filthy or pest-ridden when it could just be something like a broken floor tile [that dragged down the rating]."

She insisted she was 'confident' her team could make a success of the Abingdon branch, adding: "It's a great town and the restaurant is in a nice area.

"We are really lucky to have that site and such a big space."

However, visitors to the town centre were surprised to discover the Wildwood Kitchen had shut following the Christmas period, with a sign appearing in the window and the building emptied, though signage remains.

The reason behind the closure has not been confirmed and the restaurant chain failed to respond to inquiries.