THE building may date back to the 17th century but there is certainly nothing dated about The Blue Boar in Witney.

There is a nostalgic feel once inside the building, but the menu and rooms on offer at the pub are very much a mixture of modernity and real quality.

It is now just over 10 years since Oakman Inns & Restaurants took over The Marlborough Hotel, as it was previously known, and the pub soon underwent a £1.5 million restoration programme.

Witney Gazette: The interior of The Blue Boar in WitneyThe interior of The Blue Boar in Witney

Upon arrival, me and my fellow diner were warmly welcomed by general manager Will – who it must be said is a real credit to the business.

There is an expectation of warm and friendly staff at such pubs, but the way all staff went above and beyond was exceptional.

After being told the Neapolitan pizzas were made from scratch by trained pizzaiolos, there was only ever going to be one choice as my main.

The Pollo Bianco (£13) I opted for – among a host of other scrumptious sounding choices – was divine.

Witney Gazette: The Pollo Bianco pizza at The Blue BoarThe Pollo Bianco pizza at The Blue Boar

The smoked pancetta and chicken meats were complimented superbly by a deliciously sweet red onion marmalade and double cream.

The secret to the chewy dough is that it is proved for longer, which results in a lighter crust.

It is then cooked in a wood-fired oven, giving a subtle and smoky flavour to all the pizzas.

To accompany the fantastic pizza, I chose halloumi chips (£5) as a side.

The lovely, squeaky cheese came with a wonderful arrabbiata sauce, and was unlike any halloumi I’ve experienced before.

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While Nando’s has raised the profile of the cheese in recent years, the offering at the Blue Boar is something else.

These halloumi chips were chunkier than the usual 'chunky' offering at most pubs and restaurants, and had a stronger, juicy, mouth-watering feel.

It was halloumi, but not as I had known it before.

My fellow diner chose the Mediterranean swordfish, which came with courgetti, lentils and roasted pepper (£17.50).

Witney Gazette: The swordfish dish at The Blue BoarThe swordfish dish at The Blue Boar

I’d never experienced swordfish before, but one tiny little bite was enough to make me know what I wish I’d chosen.

The crown on the whole occasion though was the banoffee sundae (£6.50).

Food is supposed to make you feel things and without question, this sundae brought about all sorts of sensations.

While my mouth enjoyed the heavenly flavours, the sheer joy and feeling of being young again was evident.

It well and truly felt like being a child again.

Witney Gazette: Sumptuous desserts at The Blue BoarSumptuous desserts at The Blue Boar

The art of digging into the layers is, at its most simple, like looking for buried treasure.

This sundae was indeed a treasure.

Fresh sliced banana and baked banana toffee sauce sat on top of moreish vanilla ice cream and Chantilly cream.

Digging below those lush flavours resulted in an archaeologist’s dream – soft and strong chocolate brownie pieces and crunchy crushed biscuit.

As an experience, the Blue Boar may not match your average town centre boozer for price, but for gorgeous food and helpful staff, it comes out on top.

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