Hungry newsman ANDREW FFRENCH takes his family for a culinary treat at an eatery where the cuisine hits the right spots with one and all

Staff at Wildwood Kitchen are giving a warm welcome to diners in Abingdon. And although the Wildwood chain already has branches in Didcot and Wantage, it is none-the-less a very welcome addition to Abingdon, its arrival helping to brighten up the town's precinct.

The chain specialises in Italian-style stone baked pizzas, pasta and risotto but you can also choose burgers, seafood or steak dishes.

Found just off the Market Place, occupying the space once occupied by New Look and a card shop, and while managers are hoping diners will put forward suggestions to help them perfect the interior decor, it’s already very comfortable - the food bringing a delicious taste of the Mediterranean to downtown Bury Street - no mean feat on any day of the week.

Plus, there are enough tables, including cosy booths, to give Pizza Express and Ask some healthy competition, in a town as top heavy with Italian restaurants as everywhere else these days..

So what did we have? The marinated olives (£2.95) were a mouth-watering starter, or you could select mozzarella garlic bread with caramelised onion for £4.95. Instead Mrs Ffrench selected the baked brie with toasted sour dough and tomato chilli jam.

I was a little concerned that this luxurious treat might spoil her appetite but with a little help from me she put away the gooey cheese before ordering wild mushroom tagliatelle with porcini in a white wine cream sauce (£8.95).

The tagliatelle was cooked perfectly and quite strongly flavoured by the mushrooms.

I chose spaghetti carbonara (£9.65) featuring succulent pancetta in an egg and cream sauce, with parmesan on top.

Wildwood gave me a generous portion of spaghetti and the flavours in the sauce were delicious - not too salty - although my personal preference is for the sauce to stick to the pasta a little more - it was a little too liquid for my liking but that didn't detract from my overall enjoyment.

The children were offered puzzle sheets and pencils when they arrived by Antonio, our cheerful Italian host, but in all honesty they didn't need distracting too much as their margherita pizzas arrived promptly, and were polished off almost immediately on arrival.

My youngest lad considers himself quite a connoisseur of the margherita pizza - he's not yet ready to branch out - and he gave the Wildwood adult size version (£6.95) a big thumbs-up.

My younger daughtetr enjoyed the Monster Menu for kids - £4.95- and opted for the failsafe pizza and ice cream combo.

I was slightly surprised my dining companions also had room for pudding but they did and the chocolate brownies and ice cream went down a treat.

They also sampled the spun sugar confectionary produced from a candy floss machine situated near the entrance to the restaurant which was fired up by staff for any youngsters.

So I don’t think I'm sugar-coating it too much when I say all customers should be guaranteed a very enjoyable meal at Wildwood Kitchen in Abingdon. It's certainly where I'll be returning next time around.


1-3 Abbey Shopping Centre


01235 426800