When it comes to locations, Pebble Beach has arguably one of the best in the area.

Perched atop the cliffs at Barton-on-Sea, the restaurant boasts a large outdoor terrace, with unrivalled views across the Dorset and Hampshire coastline.

Even in the winter months, the eaterie is the perfect place to enjoy the sea from the warmth of the cosy, yet sophisticated dining space.

Surprisingly busy for a Monday evening – always the sign of a popular venue – the restaurant feels instantly welcoming and we were quickly ushered to a quiet corner table.

Deceptively spacious inside, Pebble Beach features a separate, raised bar area as well as an open-fronted kitchen with breakfast bar-style seating for more casual dining. The restaurant area, which is large, but cleverly broken up into smaller areas to give more privacy, features polished wooden tables accompanied by plush, striped armchairs.

Under the guidance of new head chef, Mike Waters, the restaurant offers both an à la carte selection with daily specials and a weekly set menu, which is available every day except Saturday dinner and Sunday with the option of choosing one course for £16.95, two courses for £20 or three courses for £25.

After much deliberating, I went for the ham hock croquettes (£8.95) to start, while my mum chose the smoked salmon (£9.50). For our main courses, I eventually settled on the slow cooked feather blade of beef (£21.50), and my mum decided on the pan fried skate wing (£18.50) from the Catch of the Day selection.

We enjoyed some fresh, seeded bread with butter while we waited for our meals.

Both the starters were generous in size and attractively presented. Rather than the vegetable & salmon sushi, achote & caviar dressing, my mum had asked to have the salmon accompanied just with a small serving of salad, but this was still put together with care and attention.

The ham hock consisted of two cold chunks of the meat, with a third wrapped in breadcrumbs and served warm. Full of flavour and complemented beautifully by an English mustard mayonnaise dressing.

Feeling somewhat full already, there were slight feelings of trepidation when our main courses arrived, as the portion sizes were equally generous.

My beef is served with creamed potato pickled celeriac, although I opted to swap the latter for a side dish of broccoli. Already informed by the friendly waiter that I had made a good choice, I was impressed at the tenderness of the meat, which simply fell apart when touched with the fork, and literally melted in my mouth. The accompaniments were tasty, but almost unnecessary, so flavoursome was the beef.

We were just as pleased with the size of the skate, which was surprisingly thick and took up so much of the plate that the accompanying fries had to be served in a separate dish. The capers and parsley butter were all that was needed to bring out the delicate flavour of the fish.

To finish, we both fancied something sweet. I simply had to choose the crème caramel (£7.95) – my all-time favourite and not something you see very often on a menu. My mum opted for three scoops of ice cream (£6.50), with one of each of the three flavours on offer – honey and walnut, chocolate and blackberry ripple and vanilla.

My dessert was just perfect – light and smooth with a sweet caramel flavour, accompanied by a softly poached red wine pear and a salty walnut and caramel ice cream. My mum's ice cream was an adequate size, providing a little taster of all three creamy flavours.

Having enjoyed such a lovely meal, it was a real effort to head back out into the cold winter's night, but we were heartened by the hope of a return visit before too long.

Fine dining, a great menu and an exquisite location – who could ask for more?

Pebble Beach, Marine Drive, Barton-on-Sea 01425 627777 pebblebeach-uk.com