With its clifftop location and extensive sea views, Pebble Beach proves the ideal spot for Emma Joseph to enjoy some of the finest cuisine of the region

"Location, location, location” so the saying goes – and you can’t get much better than the clifftop spot where Pebble Beach is found.

Enjoying magnificent views over the Barton-on-Sea coastline, the restaurant, bar and café with rooms boasts both a sizeable terrace for sunnier climes, and a large, stylish interior with floor to ceiling windows – perfect for enjoying the scenery on colder days.

It was dark, wet and windy when we visited, so our first impression was of a cosy, relaxed ambience, with friendly, welcoming staff.

The bar area, with its dark red, brushed velvet style stools, provides an alternative eating area for more casual dining, while the main restaurant boasts simple wooden tables complemented by comfy armchair seats with a striking striped design.

We enjoyed a glass of bubbly while we perused the menus – both the à la carte and a selection of specials were on offer on the Wednesday evening we visited.

I chose the homemade soup of the day (£7.20), which was sun-dried tomato and pesto, to start, while my friend opted for the crisp belly of pork and pan fried scallops (£12.50) from the specials menu. Both dishes were piping hot and generous in size. The soup was thick and creamy, with a strong tomato flavour complemented by the drizzle of pesto, while the melt in the mouth pork belly worked well with the tasty scallops, accompanied by the sweetness of an apple compote.

It took a while for us to choose our mains, as there was such an extensive range, including shellfish – much of which is sourced from local waters – several catches of the day, and a selection of dishes on the Brasserie Menu (£14.95 each) such as a Greek-style swordfish burger with fries; mussels with bacon, cider and fries; a salmon platter; calves liver and spiced lamb kofta.

I eventually settled for the slow-cooked pork shoulder (£18.50), while my friend chose the hake and crab thermidor (£18.95).

As anticipated, the dishes were, again, good-sized portions, and attractively presented. The pork was beautifully tender, served with a sticky sweet rhubarb ketchup and Parmentier potatoes, as well as a selection of pleasingly crunchy vegetables, which gave the dish a taste of spring.

My friend’s hake and crab thermidor waslovely and light, with a hint of cheese, served with mash potato, a tasty olive tapenade (puréed olives, capers and olive oil), plus peppers and courgettes with a tangy lemon gel.

Dessert was an even tougher choice. Tempted by several of the offerings, including the Tonka bean crème brulee and the Pavlova, we eventually chose the Assiette Gourmande for two (£18.95) – a selection of three of the dishes to share.

We opted for the warm Bakewell tart, Malibu rum baba and the chilled chocolate fondant. The rich chocolate, with its melted centre, was perfectly accompanied by warm gingerbread, and a delicious pistachio ice cream, while the rum baba was light and coconutty, set off by the super-sweet pineapple trimmings and tropical sorbet.

The traditional Bakewell tart was soft and warm, with a lovely almond flavour, needing nothing more than a simple vanilla ice cream as its accompaniment.

It was impossible to pick a favourite and it was with a sense of disappointment that we had to eventually admit defeat with the platter.

But we stayed on to finish our drinks, and make the most of the comfortable surroundings, before heading back out into the stormy night.

For a relaxed ambience, with top quality food and an idyllic setting, Pebble Beach is hard to beat.

Pebble Beach, Marine Drive, Barton on Sea

T: 01425 627777

E: mail@pebblebeach-uk.com

W: www.pebblebeach-uk.com