TWO Oxfordshire restaurants lost their Michelin stars this week when the company released their critically acclaimed guide for 2018.

The Wild Rabbit in Kingham and the Sir Charles Napier in Chinnor were excluded from this year's guide.

The Nut Tree in Murcott kept hold of its star and Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Great Milton retained its two-star rating for the 33rd year.

Julia Griffiths, the owner of the Sir Charles Napier said: "We were devastated to hear the news, but this morning there is a certain sense of relief that we can get back to being ‘true to ourselves’ after four years of ‘Michelin star pressure’.

"[It is] an accolade important to chefs but maybe not so much to our loyal customers who we have been entertaining for 45 years.

"We didn’t set out to get a star in the first place – it came out of the blue and was a complete shock to us all, including the chef at the time.

"Anyhow the most important news is that we have been awarded six in the Good Food Guide, which is consumer-led and we feel a more important reflection.

"We will now concentrate on serving the best food we possibly can in a relaxed and informal atmosphere, just as we always did."

Michael North, the chef-owner of The Nut Tree said he was 'very pleased' to maintain the accolade for the tenth consecutive year and that his team are 'always trying to improve, whether it be the wine list, service or the building'.

He added: "We know Julia, the owner of the Sir Charles Napier very well, and it's a real shame she's lost the star.

"But I don't think it will affect her business. We also know Tim Allen, the chef at the Wild Rabbit and I'm sure they've only lost theirs because he's left. They may be well regain it next year.

"Oxfordshire had more pubs than any other county in the Michelin Good Pub Guide, showing it's one of the best places in the country for good affordable food.

"It's great to be one of only 14 pubs in Great Britain and Ireland with the star. 

"Having the Michelin star is the cherry on top of the cake, but without the cherry the cake is still delicious."

Tim Allen, the chef at the The Wild Rabbit, left early this year.

A spokesperson for the restaurant said: "Usually when chefs leaves, the stars leave with them. It happened to eight of the restaurants that lost their stars this year."

Orwells in Shiplake, near Henley, was expected to get a star after being named the 31st best restaurant in the country in the 2018 Good Food Guide.

However, the 18th Century gastro-pub missed out this year.

Helene Cuff, a representative of the restaurant, said that chefs 'certainly wouldn't say no to a star'.

But she added: "They've won a clutch of awards from the Good Food Guide to AA Rosettes.

"The main thing for them is that business is thriving and their customers and regulars are happy. For them that's what counts and all going very well and could not be better on that front."

Raymond Blanc, the chef of the two-starred Le Manoir said both he and executive head chef Gary Jones were 'very happy'.

He added: "It is wonderful news as one should never ever take it for granted.

"I would like to thank both the marvellous brigade and the front of house team. It is an extraordinary achievement."