THERE can be nothing better, after a hard day's work, than a Champagne cocktail in the sun, overlooking a beautifully calm sea.

This is the rather delightful scenario we found ourselves in when we arrived a little early for our meal at the new No43 restaurant at Bournemouth's Hotel Miramar.

The eaterie extends to The Deck at No43 - perfect for al fresco dining - but as the last rays of sun disappeared off the end of the front lawn, we decided to retire inside for our dinner.

Already charmed by the attentive staff, we were equally impressed by the decor. The muted tones of the room were lifted by a couple of more striking touches, including areas of glitter on the wallpaper, and the occasional leopard print dining chair.

The restaurant's name has a particular significance, as it was in 1943 that Bob Blakemore, who went onto become a successful businessman in the Midlands, was born. In February 1997, he purchased Hotel Miramar and set about creating Bournemouth's 'Country House Hotel by the sea'.

Today the hotel continues to be under the ownership of the Blakemore family, and it was thought fitting to honour his memory following the refurbishment.

We were offered both an A La Carte menu and a Table d’hôte menu (£32.50 for three courses and coffee) to choose from, both with plenty of choice and it took a while to make our decisions.

I finally settled on the cream of celery and Stilton soup to start, followed by roasted leg of lamb, while my husband went for the Arancini risotto balls and, from the A La Carte menu, the filet steak (£25.50/£12.50 supplement).

The starters arrived very quickly and were the perfect portion size so as not to fill us up too much before the main event. My creamy soup was piping hot with a strong cheese flavour - definitely the best I've tasted in a long while - while my husband's Arancini, which were deep-fried, filled with mozzarella and served with a mozzarella and tomato sauce, were pronounced delicious.

We had a suitable break before our main courses were served, both of which were equally impressive. My lamb was served in several thin slices, topped with a very tasty, buttery minted Hollandaise and rosemary jus. It was accompanied by seasonal vegetables - roast and new potatoes, sliced carrots and broccoli. The meat was lovely and tender, while the vegetables were pleasingly vibrant and fresh.

My husband's steak arrived with cooked, on the vine cherry tomatoes, a portion of chips and some green peppercorn and mushroom sauce, and he was also offered a helping of the seasonal veg.

The steak was cooked to perfection, while the accompanying sauce was full of flavour with a smooth, creamy texture.

Feeling rather full, our friendly waitress left us to peruse the dessert menus in our own time and, sure enough, we were soon tempted to order.

I was rather easily swayed by my all-time favourite dessert, creme caramel, while my husband was won over by the warm cherry pancakes, flamed at the table.

My creme caramel, served with fresh strawberries and caramelised oranges was sweet, silky smooth and slipped down easily, while the pancakes were impressively flambéed in front of us, and had a wonderful, buttery flavour, served with a cherry sauce and fresh cherries.

With great food, great service and a great view, No43 is most definitely worth a visit.

:: Hotel Miramar, East Overcliff Drive, Bournemouth; 01202 556581;