It's renowned for its cocktail menu and live music, but the recently refurbished 1812 Lounge Bar and Restaurant is also building an enviable reputation for its food.

A six-month renovation project saw an extension added to the bar area, with space for more booths, dancing and cocktails, but the formal dining area has also been transformed and now offers a more relaxed dining experience with new small plate dishes and sharing platters for an intimate, yet sociable meal.

The venue previously featured a separate restaurant area, but the focus has now been shifted to a more casual experience throughout the venue — diners can eat at the bar on in the booths, as well as in an open-plan, designated dining area.

We were seated in the latter when we visited on a mid-week evening, and found ourselves in comfortable, gold and burgundy velour chairs, with dark wood tables and walls decorated with classy art deco-style posters.

Our drinks order was quickly taken while we perused the menu, which was explained to us by friendly waiting staff.

The dishes on offer comprise a selection of smaller, tapas-style options, or a choice of poke bowls – chunks of salmon, tuna or tofu tossed over rice and served cold with vegetables and sauces.

Keen to try a range of different food, we decided to order a selection of the smaller dishes, as well as the serrano ham and olive wood-fired flat bread (£8), which arrived piping hot and served with a ramekin of a subtly-flavoured broccoli hummus.

To follow, we settled on the chargrilled aubergine (£6.50), sautéed chorizo (£7), gammon hock croquettes (£6.50) and sesame coated calamari (£6.50), as well as two side orders of sweet potato fries (£4) and roasted new potatoes with chorizo (£4).

Unsure whether we had ordered enough, we were reassured when the food began to arrive, as each dish was pleasingly generous.

My favourites were the gammon hock croquettes – three large balls packed with tender gammon mixed with soft potato and covered in crispy breadcrumbs – and the sautéed chorizo, which was served in a deliciously sweet honey, shallot and red wine sauce.

When pushed, my husband admitted he favoured the calamari, accompanied by pickled fennel, wild rocket, coriander and a lightly-flavoured, sweet chilli aioli.

That said, we both also enjoyed the aubergine, which was served with crumbled feta cheese, in a garlic and parsley butter. The sweet potato fries were crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, while the new potatoes were salty, buttery and full of flavour thanks to the diced chorizo it was served with.

We were feeling rather full by this point, but determined to order something sweet to finish off with .

The dessert range is not huge, but certainly covers all bases. Wanting something light, I opted for the raspberry Eton mess (£6), while my husband went for the chocolate terrine (£7.50).

My Eton mess was surprisingly generous in size and presented as a "deconstructed" version, with chunks of light meringue and cream scattered around the dish, interspersed with fresh strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. It's usually one of my favourite desserts and certainly didn't disappoint.

My husband had to admit defeat with the chocolate terrine, which was two chunks of creamy, rich decadence accompanied with honeycomb and vanilla bean ice cream.

At the venue's relaunch party, owner Harry Brewer said he wanted 1812 to encompass everything you might need for a good evening under one roof. Given the quality of the food, the decor and the range of drinks on offer, I'd say it was mission accomplished.

1812 Lounge Bar and Restaurant, Exeter Road, Bournemouth 01202 203050