For a veritable feast of quality food at its best, the new Upper Deck bar and restaurant is one port of call you simply don’t want to miss.

Having recently opened its newly varnished doors, it has already seen an influx of guests keen to check out the legendary eatery lining our southern shores.

With unrivalled views across Christchurch Harbour, Upper Deck is the south coast’s most exciting new restaurant with one of the UK’s most desirable locations. The restaurant offers a laid back coastal scene with menus designed by award-winning Chef Patron Alex Aitken, all just a few footsteps from the water’s edge.

Alex Aitken, who retained a Michelin star for 14 years at Le Poussin and Limewood, stays true to source seasonal produce from food heroes in Dorset and the surrounding areas.

“Upper Deck is all about food that you want to eat, and come back for, again and again,” says Alex.

Whilst perusing the menu with much curiosity, we sipped on refreshing ‘Jimmy’ cocktails – a sublime concoction of Hendrick’s Gin, mint, pineapple juice, cucumber and crushed ice, created by food and restaurant manager AJ Aitken.

The interior itself offers an attractive palette for the eye with soft hues, attractive accessories, lights, and retro pictures adorning the walls.

Artist David Keeping has created bespoke pieces for the new restaurant, drawing inspiration from the location and the hotel’s strong connection to its coastal surroundings. Where yachting chic meets coastal heritage, Upper Deck features a restyled restaurant with New England colours and tones, a pewter-topped bar with elegant art deco accents and an extensive outdoor terrace, all set against the backdrop of harbour views.

Amongst the delicious offerings on the menu were Poole Bay rock oysters, cracked crab claws, lobster and catch of the day from the local fishing boats.

For those wishing to share Alex has created Bring Us Food & Drink feasting menus and for those in need of a snack on the terrace, the Quick & Simple menu is a must.

We chose the Bring Us Food & Drink experience (£39.50 pp, £70 pp with drinks) – “sit back, relax and feast with the team”. A beautiful, mouth-watering selection of dishes, plates, platters and drinks were brought to our table – we were in paradise! The restaurant’s commanders AJ and Mandy Brock had everything running like clockwork creating a relaxed and friendly ambience.

As a little treat we devoured a smooth carrot and coriander amuse-bouche with fresh granary bread on the side.

We then began our culinary journey with round one: a wooden platter consisting of scallops from Weymouth, cured and smoked meat from Dorset Charcuterie, pickled herring, fresh salmon, potted shrimp, gherkins, and a pot of olives.

A glass of Gavi di Gavi, La Toledana, Domini Villa Lanata, Italy 2011, complemented the flavours perfectly – a white with nice spice to it, not strong like a chardonnay.

Next up were individual bowls of heaven – Sopley Farm asparagus and New Forest wild garlic risotto with a soft poached egg.

Crusan Sauvignon Blanc, Columbard South West France 2011 matched the infusion of fresh flavours just right – fresh and crisp with a hint of gooseberries.

Our third treat delivered to the table was an aromatic masterpiece; monkfish curry with Sri Lankan aromatic spices, cinnamon, and rice.

“An amazing sensation for the nose as well as the tastebuds,” my husband Richard enthused.

We each had a different tipple for this course – I sipped on a fruity Zinfandel Rose California, and Richard enjoyed a refreshing half Star.

Ploughing on (not that we need to be coerced in the slightest you understand), we happily consumed a delicious sharing plate consisting of fat marbled aged rib grilled rare (beef sourced from Alex’s farm in Sway), juicy tiger prawns, served with tomatoes, chips, Béarnaise sauce and watercress salad.

To wash down this classic surf and turf dish with an elegant twist? Humilitat, Priorat Spain 2009 – a smooth, full bodied red wine, with a likeness to Rioja with divine hints of cherries.

With the main dishes complete, we moved on to the cheese and sweetie goodness that was awaiting.

‘Bored of cheese? Never, so a selection to share’ – this is what the menu said and what a fine flavoursome assortment of cheese it was – I’ll be coming back for the Isle of Wight Blue, definitely.

To match the full cheddar flavours a Liquor de Muscat, Skillogalee, Clare Valley Australia was called for. Fortified and chilled it is similar to a port or sherry with sweet essence that hit the right note.

To complete our culinary experience we finished with a trio of desserts to share; chocolate brownie with pistachio ice cream, perfectly runny chocolate fondant and strawberry posset with strawberry coulis. A late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc dessert wine (Colchagua Valley, Chile) completed our drinks selection for the evening.

An awe-inspiring dining experience; one that you too will want to try again and again.

  • Upper Deck Bar & Restaurant, Christchurch Harbour Hotel & Spa, 01202 48343, . Upper Deck is the first of two new openings for Alex for 2013, with The Jetty landing at the new Salcombe Harbour Hotel & Spa in Devon in August, 2013