A RESTAURATEUR has defended a national food guide which left Michelin–starred foodie favourite off its top 50 list of best places to dine in the UK.

The Good Food Guide 2019, complied by high street giant Waitrose & Partners, ranked the top 50 food hotspots in the UK.

Orwells in Shiplake proved popular with diners and judges after it bagged a 29th place in the book, with an overall cooking score of 7.

Local restaurateur, Donald Sloan, said: "Waitrose Good Food Guide, as I understand is influenced by customers. So it's always focused on things that are accessible."

He described Great Milton's double star studded Le Maniour – which is owned and run by Raymond Blanc – as 'truly fabulous'.

However he said that it could have been missing out of the top 50 in the sixth annual guide, which ranks eateries based on a combination of cooking score, editor appraisal and the strength of reader feedback, because its simply 'expensive'.

He said: "When customers chose it, it becomes slightly more accessible."

He added that Oxford's food scene is 'lagging behind other cities', but said: "It's not yet a great place to dine out, but that is changing."

The restaurant, awarded the top spot in the guide for the second year in a row, was Nathan Outlaw in Cornwall, which racked up the perfect 10 again and Hambleton Hall in Leicestershire and Rutland came last.

The Fat Duck in Bray was the top scorer in the South East placed at 10th.

The release of the guide comes after Waitrose and John Lewis launched their new overhaul '& Partners'–which aims to highlight that the high–street giants are owned by its employees.

Customers at the Westgate Centre's flagship store, John Lewis, will notice the shiny new letters on the side of the building.