According to its website, "good food and good service" is at the core of what is important to Dicky's Bar & Brasserie.

Following our visit to try out the menu at the Southbourne eaterie, we have to agree.

At the time of writing, owner Paul Forsdike was thrilled to be welcoming customers again, following the lockdown period.

“May we start by saying we couldn’t wait to have our doors open again and to feel the hustle and bustle of the wonderful atmosphere that our guests create," he says.

"Yours, and our fabulous team's, safety were undoubtedly our main priority. Whilst the government has announced pubs and restaurants could re open on July 4, we took the hard decision to delay our reopening to August 4, so we could fully understand how the new regulations would affect us and how best we could implement them whist keeping the brasserie viable.

"All tables have been placed a metre apart or have natural screening in place, we have an automatic sanitiser dispenser in our entrance lobby for your arrival and fitted hand sanitisers (supplied by our lovely local people at Conker gin!) in the toilets and on the bar and all of the team are wearing face coverings.

"We believe these processes and controls we have put in place will provide our guests with a safe and relaxed experience as they would expect from us!”

Dorset Society:

We were greeted warmly were immediately impressed by the decor. Dark green walls, mustard banquettes and dark wooden tables combine for a classy, yet relaxed look and we instantly felt at home.

With a lunch menu served from 12pm to 2.30pm, and a selection of sandwiches on the menu, I imagine the venue is also popular during the daytime, particularly given its prominent location and striking green awning, making it a dominating presence on Southbourne Grove.

We were shown to a high table in the window, and presented with menus and a specials board before our drinks order was taken.

A wide selection of dishes with a European influence are on offer, and we found it quite a task to narrow down our final choices.

We were both tempted by several of the Picky Bits dishes, and settled on Houmous and Crostini (£4), Pakora Bites (£5) and Bitterballen – Dutch meatballs (£6) – to share as a starter.

Dorset Society:

The food was quick to arrive, and the portions sizes far outweighed our expectations. Expecting smaller sized dishes, as "picky bits" may suggest, each plate was equal in size to a large starter.

The Pakora Bites were rather like flat onion bhajis – full of flavour with a hit of spice. The Bitterballen consisted of large balls of hot, melted meat pâté, deep fried in a generous coating of crispy breadcrumbs. Incredibly tasty and very more-ish. The large dish of creamy houmous was served with a portion of thin, crispy crostini, perfect for dipping.

For our main courses, I was torn between the Pan Roasted Lamb Rump, with Nicoise potatoes and a rosemary jus (£19), the Fish & Chips (£14), the Cumberland Sausage Wheel, with creamed mash and onion gravy from the set menu (£12.50 for two courses or £15 for three courses), or the Pan Fried Breast of Chicken (£14).

After much um-ing and ah-ing, I finally settled on the latter, while my husband chose the 10oz Rib Eye steak, (£18).

There was a suitable break before the dishes arrived, for which we were thankful as we already felt rather full.

Dorset Society:

Our main courses were piping hot and just as generous in size as our starters had been. My sliced chicken breast had a lovely chargrilled flavour, sat atop Dauphinoise potatoes, and was topped with a creamy mushroom sauce, and accompanied by a serving of broccoli. The meat was melt in the mouth tender, with the sauce and potatoes giving the dish a wonderful richness.

The steak was cooked to perfection, served with a dish of crispy fries and a jug of the same mushroom sauce – peppercorn sauce and garlic butter were also on offer.

By now, we really were feeling full, but I had already eyed up the Lemon Posset (£6) and my husband was tempted by the Belgian Waffles (£6).

Given the size of our previous portions, I should have realised the Lemon Posset would not be a lighter dessert option. A large glass full of creamy lemon mousse was topped with a generous helping of winter berry compote. Delicious and light as it was, I had to admit defeat. The waffles were served with a dollop of salted caramel ice cream and topped with caramel sauce. Satisfyingly sweet.

Dicky's is one of those places that does what it says on the tin –"good food and good service". We are already looking forward to our next visit.

Dorset Society:

 

Dicky's Bar & Brasserie, Southbourne Grove, Southbourne, Bournemouth

01202 425858

dickys.bar