THE first surprise when we stepped through the doors of the Brewhouse & Kitchen in Southbourne, was that the place was so packed on a Tuesday night.

Most pub restaurants would be delighted to get this sort of turn out at the weekend, let alone mid-week. One local explained it was because of the weekly pub quiz which you can play via an app but there seems to be an event on most evenings.

The second surprise was just how vast the place is with a good range of food, from traditional pub grub like pies and burgers to tagines and vegan options.

This place brews its own craft beers on-site and as well as matching every dish on the menu to a style of beer, many of the dishes feature some of their brews too.

Our lovely waitress Chloe brought out a selection of samples for us to try (we particularly enjoyed Steamhouse which is a lighter, carbonated ale).

For starters I had the quirky sounding Mac 'n' Cheese Melts with chilli jam (£3.75)which were balls of macaroni cheese rolled in a light crumb coating and deep fried. It was very moreish - perfect comfort food on a winter's evening.

My other half had hot buffalo wings (£5.75) (you could also have sticky barbecue). The chicken was so tender that the meat almost fell off the bone.

For mains he went for the New Yorker Burger (£12.75) a 6oz 21-day aged Birchstead beef patty topped with barbecued pulled pork, mature cheddar cheese with a cask ale relish, tomatoes, lettuce and red onion.

If you think that sounds impressive, there is also the aptly named Ridiculous Burger (£16.45) with two patties and all the trimmings.

If you're not a meat lover, the vegan burger sounds good too (£9.25) - avocado, beetroot and horseradish relish with tomatoes, lettuce and red onion served in ciabatta.

For mains I was torn between the handmade steak and stout pie (£11) or the Moroccan chickpea & cauliflower tagine (£8.95).

In the end I opted for the pie which was served with braised red cabbage, creamy cheesy mash. The pastry was a little hard but it was packed with tender beef in a rich sauce.

For dessert I had a slice of maple, bourbon and pecan tart (£4.95) served with whipped cream.

If you're looking for some good rib sticking fodder, great ale and lively atmosphere, this place would be hard to beat.