WHEN the sun is shining, there's nothing quite like a meal with a view. So it was perfect timing when we visited Bournemouth's NEO restaurant for Sunday lunch on a warm, autumn day.

With the eaterie's first floor location (the bar is situated on ground level) overlooking the seafront and Bournemouth Pier, it's the perfect spot for a bit of people watching and ocean-gazing, without all the hustle and bustle on the streets below.

There are a handful of tables in prime position, by the floor to ceiling windows, but the restaurant is deceptively spacious, with plenty of room for more seating on the other side of the circular staircase.

Simple, yet classy in its decor, NEO succeeds in creating a stylish, comfortable environment.

Admittedly, it wouldn't be the first place I would think of for a Sunday roast, so I was delighted to be presented with a separate carvery menu, alongside the à la carte selection.

We enjoyed some bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar while we perused the choices.

Already set on the roast dinner, I opted for one of the lighter starters, Isle of Wight Heritage Tomato (£9), while my husband chose the Slow Cooked Ham Hock Terrine (£8).

Served with an impressive dollop of mozzarella, the tomato was a beautifully colourful dish, with the flavours of the red, yellow and green fruits complemented perfectly by a sprinkling of fresh basil. The chunky terrine was also a generous portion – tasty ham mixed with parsley and served with a sweet, homemade orchard chutney.

Thankfully, we were given a breather before our main courses arrived. Unable to choose between the three meats on offer, I went for the Chef's roast (£21), which included a selection of roast sirloin of beef, roast chicken with sage and onion stuffing and roast loin of pork with apple sauce. My husband settled on the 10oz Rib Eye steak (£29).

Our meals had to be brought over in two stages, as the roast was so big it wouldn't all fit on one plate! There was a separate serving for the pot of cauliflower cheese and a small jug of extra gravy – bonus points for guessing I always ask for more gravy!

The plate was piled high with a Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables – which in this case included carrots, parsnips, cabbage, peas and green beans – and topped with plenty of meat. Each of the meats was pleasingly tender, while the veggies were just how I like them – al dente with plenty of flavour – and the cauliflower was smothered in a deliciously tangy, creamy cheese sauce. I simply couldn't fault it, and kept eating long after I should really have admitted defeat!

My husband's steak was equally generous in size, and cooked to perfection. The accompanying triple cooked, chunky chips were satisfyingly crispy and the additional slow cooked tomato, mushroom and watercress made for a hearty meal.

Adamant we were full, we made the fatal mistake of glancing at the dessert menu, but admitted there was no way we could manage anything as fancy as the Chocolate and Baileys dark chocolate mouse, with Baileys panna cotta and honeycomb (£8.50) or the Orchard Toffee Apple (£8), consisting of a toffee cheesecake, apple jelly and cider sorbet.

Instead, I chose a single scoop of coconut sorbet and my husband opted for three scoops of ice cream –vanilla, salted caramel and pistachio. Both were beautifully presented, topped with complementary fresh berries, chocolate and coconut pieces and boasted a creamy texture and strong flavours.

All in all, great food, a stunning setting and friendly, knowledgeable staff. Highly recommended.

NEO Restaurant, Exeter Road, Bournemouth