IT'S always reassuring to learn, just before you visit, that a restaurant has been awarded a five star food hygiene rating.

Westbourne Tandoori has always been a popular curry house, but it has gone from strength to strength since being taken over by the charming Anwar four years ago, who also now runs Quay Spice in Poole.

We visited on probably the wettest, windiest Monday of the year, but were given a warm reception from Anwar and his team, who efficiently dealt with our wet coats and showed us to a quiet, private booth. There are several of these situated on one side of the restaurant, which also has plenty of space for freestanding tables and chairs to accommodate parties of all sizes.

The decor here manages to be both traditional and contemporary, with dark red chairs and dark, elaborate wallpaper giving a classic, sophisticated feel.

It's a theme that continues with the menu, which features all the favourite Indian dishes, as well as some more unique options. These are all traditional curries, Anwar tells us, but those which are not often found in UK Indian restaurants.

We enjoyed some crispy papadums with a selection of dips and chutneys while we perused the extensive selection on offer. There really is something for every taste, whether it's a hot or mild dish you are after, meat, fish or vegetarian. For those wanting to try a range of flavours, there are a number of choices under The Thali section – an Indian meal with contents varying from one regional cuisine to another, consisting of a range of dishes served in small bowls on a round tray, representing delicacies from all over India.

I chose a Chicken Pakora starter (£4.95), while my husband went for the King Prawn Butterfly (£6.25).

Both were generous portion sizes, and attractively presented with a salad garnish. The tender pieces of spicy, marinated chicken were served in an authentic batter, and had a tangy kick without being overly spicy. The king prawn was cooked with egg and breadcrumbs, spiced and fried in butter – mouthwateringly tasty.

We were already feeling worryingly full by this stage, so were grateful when Anwar suggested a ten-minute break before bringing out our main course dishes.

I had played it safe and gone for my favourite Chicken Tikka Pasanda (£9.95), with my husband opting for the Tandoori Mixed Grill (£15.95). We chose a Keema Nan (£3.95), Keema Rice (£3.95) and Onion Bhaji starter (£4.25) as accompaniments which, in hindsight, was far too much, but we just couldn't decide between them.

The pasanda consisted of barbecued chicken pieces cooked in red wine with fresh cream, cultured yoghurt and almonds. A mild dish, with a nutty flavour and a nice alternative to those who favour a korma.

In contrast, the mixed grill arrived on a sizzling platter of tandoori chicken, chicken tikka, lamb tikka and sheek kebab. A great combination of flavours and spices.

Equally tasty where the keema nan and the more-ish keema rice – basmati rice fried in butter with minced meat. The latter is a dish neither of us have tried before, but will undoubtedly order again. We just about managed a taster each of the huge, battered bhajis before sadly having to admit defeat.

We simply couldn't face dessert, but the After Eights which arrived with our hot towelettes were the perfect sweet finish to the meal.

As if we needed convincing, a quick chat with the chef before we left assured us he has the same passion for his food as Anwar does, so it's no surprise Westbourne Tandoori has such continued success.

Well worth a visit.

Westbourne Tandoori, Seamoor Road, Westbourne

01202 767142 / 01202 762103