As Bournemouth restaurants go, the Ventana Grand Cafe is certainly one of the most impressive.

In terms of decor, it more than lives up to the grandeur of its name, with a distinctive art deco style echoing that of The Cumberland Hotel, where it is situated, and lots of sophisticated black and grey tones.

Small touches like the use of armchairs with cushions rather than more upright dining chairs give off a more relaxed air and the eaterie offers a number of mid-week deals, meaning it is more affordable than you may think and has become increasingly popular with both hotel guests and local residents alike.

Indeed, it was reassuringly busy when we visited on a Tuesday evening to sample the new autumn/winter menu.

With an extensive selection of seasonal dishes, it took us some time to make our choices.

I eventually settled on the Chef's Soup of the Day (£5.95) to start, followed by the Ventana Signature - Variations of Dorset Lamb (£21.95) and my husband went for the Scotch Egg of Black Pudding and Quail's Egg (£8.75) and the 8oz Rump Steak (£23.95).

The soup - pea and potato - was served in a large bowl, accompanied by two slices of warm, artisan bread. Thick and creamy, it was extremely tasty and very filling - I had to stop myself from polishing off the lot in order to leave room for the rest of the meal.

My husband's Scotch quail's egg was delicately wrapped in the black pudding and served on a bed of new potato citrus salad and crispy shallots, making for a pleasing combination of flavours.

Thankfully, there was a suitable break before our mains were served, as these were equally generous in size.

The lamb consisted of a Braised Lamb Shank Shepherd's Pie; Rump of Lamb Hot Pot and Lamb & Mint Toad in the Hole, with a crushed pea puree and roasted beetroot. The Shepherd's Pie featured chunks of tender meat in an unusual, tomato-based sauce, topped with fluffy mashed potato, while the "deconstructed" Hot Pot had a base of chopped vegetables, with a slice of roasted potato, topped with slices of tasty rump. My favourite was the Toad in the Hole - a giant Yorkshire pudding filled with deliciously minty-flavoured lamb sausages.

Again, I was disappointed to have to admit defeat.

The steak was pronounced "cooked to perfection", while the accompanying chunky chips were light and fluffy, while retaining a crispy exterior. My husband chose the Isle of Wight Blue cheese sauce (other options included Pink Peppercorn; Rich Dark Gravy and Onion Thyme Jus), which added a pleasing tangy flavour.

Adamant I was too full for anything else, a cursory glance at the dessert menu soon changed my mind as I was tempted by the refreshing-sounding Strawberry and Mint Panna Cotta (£7.50), while my husband went down the savoury route, with the three-choice Dorset Cheese Trolley (£9.75).

The Panna Cotta was, as expected, lovely and light, yet full of a strong strawberry flavour, accompanied by a zesty mint jelly and chunky pineapple and strawberry compote.

My husband's cheese board consisted of chunks of Isle of Wight blue; Smoked Dorset Red and Wookey Hole Cheddar, as well as balsamic onions, a selection of chutneys and jellies, plus celery, grapes, figs, artisan biscuits and pickled walnuts. All the cheeses were satisfyingly tangy and perfectly paired with the vast array of sweet accompaniments.

Classy food, in classy surroundings - well worth a visit.

Ventana Grand Cafe, The Cumberland Hotel, East Overcliff Drive, Bournemouth T: 01202 556529 W: