BEFORE taking a lovely stroll around Compton Acres gardens we decided to boost our energy with a spot of lunch at the café there.

It is a bright and relaxed setting with crayons and colouring pages for children and it was not too busy when we arrived.

You need to order at the bar, which seemed a shame as the helpful staff did not seem too busy and it would have been nice to have table service.

I only fancied a light lunch so I went for the Gentleman’s Relish dish.

I was not too sure if I would like the anchovy spread but wanted to give it a try and was happy I did. It was a bit of a taste sensation on some lovely toasted bread. It was not too salty or fishy but had a nice and lively, tangy taste to it.

My wife went for the Welsh Rarebit, which was done to perfection with a nice layer of warm cheese on some lovely bread. It was a shame it was only one piece though for the price of £6.25.

Our daughter enjoyed her beans on toast, which was well priced at £2.25.

I was impressed by the helpful staff who happily agreed to serve us our choices from the afternoon tea menu despite us being there earlier than its 3pm to 5pm slot.

Breakfast is served between 9.30am and 11.30am with eggs Benedict, Dorset pork sausage sandwich, grilled kipper, organic porridge and other dishes if you get there earlier.

There are sandwiches and salads, a main menu with scampi, risotto, a Dorset beef, potato and Guinness pie and other choices with wines, beers and ciders available too.

There was a bit of a wait for people queuing to get into the one toilet inside the cafe when we were there.

But the Compton Acres cafe sits well in this beautiful setting.

This is an independent review by a reporter without the cooperation of the establishment.

My Compton Acres tearooms bill:

Gentleman’s relish with toasted bakery bread £2.25
Welsh rarebit  £6.25
Heinz baked beans on toast  £2.50
San Pellegrino lemonade  £1.95
Latte  £2.50
Cappuccino £2.50

TOTAL:   £17.95

The Ratings Board (out of five)

Location ****

Atmosphere ***

Value for money **

Quality of food ****

Service ***

Comfort ****

Family friendly ****

Menu choice ***

Overall rating ***