It is one of the most dominant buildings on the Bournemouth clifftop.

Yet the Cumberland Hotel’s Ventana Grand Cafe could not be more welcoming. In keeping with the art deco style of the rest of the hotel, the restaurant has warming, classy decor.

With its black and white theme, brightened by the hot pink of the staff’s uniforms and red cushions in the armchairs, which are seated at many tables in place of more formal dining chairs, the brasserie provides the perfect setting for either a relaxed dinner a deux or a group gathering.

The menu changes seasonally – a whole new set of dishes will be available this month for the summer season – but many of the customer’s favourite dishes remain.

Others are simply adapted to suit the new season – served with salad or risotto in place of potatoes and gravy. There are also weekly specials, so you really are spoilt for choice.

I eventually settled on the Welsh rarebit (£5.95) to start, followed by the confit of duck (£13.50), while my husband chose the duck liver pate (£6.50) and then the balsamic half roast chicken (£13.50).

We were served with some marinated olives and tomatoes (£1.95pp) while we waited for our meals. Diners can also nibble on home prepared warm rustic bread (£1.80pp).

Our starters were both impressive portions. My Welsh rarebit – granary bloomer bread toasted with mild Cheddar, cheese sauce, grilled cherry vine tomatoes, Worcester sauce and mustard – was absolutely delicious.

The cheese sauce gave it a wonderfully creamy, almost decadent texture, while the Worcester sauce and mustard meant the flavour had a little kick.

My husband’s pate was accompanied by caramelised fig, warm rustic bread and a micro herb salad.

The pate was smooth and creamy and went beautifully with the soft, warm bread.

There was a suitable break before our main courses arrived, and we were once again surprised by the generous portion sizes.

The tender duck was served with a butter bean and chorizo sausage cassolette in a rich port wine jus, which was the perfect accompaniment.

The softness of the beans contrasted well with the more chewy chorizo, with the latter giving the dish a tasty, smoky flavour.

My husband’s chicken was accompanied by rosemary, garlic and crushed new potatoes, although he opted instead for French fries.

The meat was tender, moist and simply fell off the bone, while the accompanying sauce gave it a light, added flavour.

Full almost to the brim, but determined to sample some desserts, we requested another short wait before ordering.

I eventually settled on the cappuccino crème brulee (£5.95), while my husband chose the cheese board (£6.95).

The crème brulee was served with clotted cream shortbread and raspberries and was delightfully smooth, with a delicate coffee flavour.

In keeping with our other courses, the cheese board was extremely generous and included chunks of Cheddar, Stilton and smoked cheese, as well as water biscuits, grapes, julienne celery and chutney.

Eventually, we had to admit defeat – but I’m sure we’ll be back.

  • Ventana Grand Cafe, Cumberland Hotel, 01202 290722.