BEING a Southbourne resident, I was keen to check out the newest eatery down my local high street.

The Larder House has recently opened its doors and it seems apparent that business is booming for the little venue at No.4.

‘Artisan foods and fine moods’ – that’s what they promise to deliver, and sure enough that’s what we got.

With its brown floorboards, wooden furniture, beams hanging from the ceiling and dimmed lighting, the restaurant has a certain understated elegance. I particularly liked the bar, which is a rustic yet stylish affair and fabulously well-stocked with bottles climbing up the wall.

The atmosphere was relaxed, the background music hit the right notes and the candle-lit lighting set the scene for a wonderful evening.

Whilst browsing the menu and the specials list (handed on a paper scroll) we sampled an appetiser of crispy bread with dip presented in a cute authentic dominos box, for £2.50. A complimentary bottle of ice water was also served.

To start, I opted for the beetroot marinated salmon and air-dried mixed herb tart, £5.50. My other half chose the pea and bacon soup of the day, £4. Both dishes were yummy (the soup could have benefited from a little more seasoning perhaps) but they oozed flavour and were brimming with fresh ingredients.

On to our mains. We both picked a pizza. For me, it had to be the Edible Suzanne. With a tasty offering of cured meats, bursts of piccalilli and mozzarella it scores high marks, priced at £12.

Richard enjoyed the Ham and Pineapple pizza, £10. The pine-smoked serrano ham and caramelised spiced bramley apple pizza arrived concealed with a dish cover which, when removed by our waitress, revealed an aromatic cloud of smoke that provoked an ‘ahh’ from the crowd.

For afters, I was being greedy but the orange posset with cherry tuille on the specials menu was calling! This creamy yet light dessert was delicious.

To accompany our meal we plumped for the French Syrah red wine (£14 a bottle) and it proved the perfect companion for our food. The total bill came to £53.

The Larder House is also a great destination for visitors who wish to sit back and relax with a temping tipple. The garden courtyard nestled out the back is a welcoming zone with seating.

Even on a chillier evening you can huddle around the warm glowing flames from the log firepit.

I’ve discovered another local gem and I will be certainly be heading back soon to devour more delicious delights.

The Larder House is open Monday to Saturday – Sundays being the ‘Craftsmen’s day of rest’.