Entering into the bygone age of the of the 1920s sets the stage for the eminent Ventana restaurant.

Situated within the impressive Cumberland Hotel and located just a few minutes’ walk from Bournemouth’s beautiful beaches, the Ventana offers first-class cuisine and service for outstandingly good value.

The very first impression is of the inspired art deco grandeur, featuring a befitting display of portraits which include some of the classic Hollywood film stars, including Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin and the great crooner himself Frank Sinatra.

The clever and imaginative decor, with beautifully elaborate chandeliers and comfortable seating, makes for delightful surroundings with a consummate atmosphere.

We were greeted by Baban, our adorable waiter for the afternoon and shown to an exquisite table overlooking the outdoor swimming pool. We let our imaginations run wild for a moment and could picture ourselves on a hot summer’s day, seated next to the pool – an unparalleled setting which really could not be more perfect for a lunch or dinner venue.

After an aperitif of Beefeater gin and Prosecco, infused with orange and pink grapefruit zest, aptly named ‘Blossom’, we set about perusing the menus.

The a la carte menu affords a wide variety of locally-sourced seafood along with a choice of seasonal home-prepared pies, steaks and gourmet burgers. For our starter we chose the handmade Loch Duart fish cake, served with wilted spinach and a gorgeous sorrel sauce and steamed Cornish ropegrown mussels, served in white wine, garlic and shallot cream sauce.

Our ever-attentive waiter Baban was on hand whilst we were choosing our main courses and, after much deliberation, we decided on the Ventana Signature – variations of Dorset lamb which was a trio of braised lamb shank, shepherd’s pie, rump of lamb hot pot, lamb and mint toad-in the-hole, crushed pea puree and roasted beetroot.

It was as delicious as it sounds. For our other main course we chose the pan-fried calves’ liver served with celeriac mash, melted onion jus, bacon crisp, sesame roasted winter kale – all absolutely stunning.

The Ventana also offers a fabulous set lunchtime menu, which affords an unbelievably exceptional three courses for £19.50. This includes esteemed favourites such as rump steak and ale pie or Dorset ale battered Mudeford cod fillet as well as innovative dishes comprising seasonal wild mushroom and pumpkin risotto and mouth-watering desserts – the indulgent winter berry layered pavlova is absolutely heavenly.

We really should take advantage of these amazing venues as it is too easy to overlook them and favour the high street food chains, but our visit just reminded us that such dining experiences are still to be had.

The imposing buildings with panoramic views, extremely knowledgeable and highly-trained staff who provide a second-tonone service, exquisite and extensive choices of locally-produced food in thoughtfully designed surroundings with optimum comfort in mind, really should be indulged in.

We will absolutely be taking the full benefit of these gorgeous surroundings in the future, with the Ventana being at the very top of our list of picks, it is quite simply ‘just perfect’.

Ventana Grand Cafe, Cumberland Hotel, East Overcliff Drive, Bournemouth

T: 01202 556529

W: www.cumberlandhotel.oceana-collection.com