Four years have passed since I last darkened the door of The Feathers in Woodstock. Then, having experienced a meal which was disappointing to say the least, I had expressed my displeasure in these pages.

Very shortly afterwards I received a letter encouraging me to visit again as the chef had changed shortly after my visit and the menu was much improved.

Years have passed and the Feathers seems to be thriving, so it was high time to try it once more and see whether the promise would come true.

In fact, I tried the restaurant on the ground floor of the 17th century building twice in the space of a week just to make sure I was on the right lines with this review.

The second occasion was significant because it allowed us to sit outside in glorious sunshine in the walled garden.

That was a great start and I quickly appreciated the modern but understated wicker furniture and fashionable umbrellas which created a very pleasant ambience.

The smartly dressed waiter dispatched the menu which, although not extensive, took some time to take in.

Annoyingly, the waiter seemed impatient and lurked in the background until finally we sent him away to get some drinks. Perhaps we were too close to 2pm and he wanted to go home?

Anyway, I decided to go for the whitebait served with chilli sauce which was in the nibbles section of the menu rather than being an official starter.

But it was more than enough to whet the appetite, the crispy little fish being packed with flavour while the chilli just added to the taste. A good choice.

My companions were also fairly satisfied with their choices. The antipasti consisting of salami, garlic sausage, parma ham, mascarpone and olives presented on a board was tasty.

And the leek and smoked haddock soup of the day was thick and creamy, although chunks of fish would have been preferred.

The main courses contained a snail dish, hinting at the French management of the restaurant but I was not tempted, opting for the safer option of the Feathers burger for my main course.

This was nicely presented with skinny fries in a little metal basket and a pot of guacamole on the side.

But the burger was soft and overcooked (I had not been asked how I liked it) and the bun also contained a slice of chorizo which is becoming so ubiquitous these days, I have gone right off it.

My companions fared better with their chicken served on a bed of green beans and potato and a starter-size portion of crab cakes (mixing dark and white meats).

On the earlier occasion I had chosen the crab cakes as a main dish with one white and one dark meat served with salad and had really enjoyed them.

Sadly, our al fresco dining experience had to be curtailed thanks to the presence of wasps —a perennial hazard in August.

But at least we could sit anywhere in the main dining room with its smart wooden tables.

And being away from the insects, one member of the party decided to have three balls of sorbet.

The orange was fine but we were convinced the passion fruit was actually ice cream. The waiter agreed, although, having checked in the kitchen, apparently it said passion fruit “on the box.” Safe to say, it was overpriced at £5.50.

More convincing was the pot of mint tea served in a glass teapot containing a clump of dried leaves, which provided a talking point after the meal.

The lunch had certainly been better than last time, but it was not without its faults in both food and service. And just to add, we had declined wine having seen the prices.

But as a setting, the Feathers had provided an extremely pleasant backdrop for a meal and could prompt another visit before the summer is out.