Step into The Guildhall Tavern and it feels as though you have been transported to the French Riviera, miles away from the cobbled streets of Poole’s old town.

Situated in the quaint quarters of Poole, in a listed building, The Guildhall Tavern is an authentic French family restaurant bursting with charm, character and quality cuisine.

2015 marks a milestone for husband and wife Frederic and Severine Seweryn who are celebrating 15 years in business since they opened the doors in 2000.

Over the last 15 years their hard work and quality French fare has not gone unnoticed - they have been awarded two prestigious Michelin Forks, are listed in the Michelin Guide 2015, as well as the esteemed Harden’s Guide and the Good Food Guide 2016.

Head chef and proprietor Frederic, was born in Cannes in the South of France. He trained in the French Rivera at the renowned Cannes Nice restaurant in Marseille, a famous city along the beautiful Côte d'Azur.

I was very keen to sample their locally landed seafood and homemade dishes. Frederic is passionate about bringing French specialities to the seaside town of Poole and works directly with local fishermen, utilising quality produce right on the doorstep.

As soon as we walked through the door we were greeted with buzzing chatter, friendly welcomes and delicious aromas escaping from the kitchen, which was a hive of activity.

As soon as we were shown to our table for lunch (bookings are recommended), Sebastien kindly explained the Plat du Jour specials and made some recommendations.

The menu includes a mouth-watering assortment of fish and meat, with a children’s menu and gluten free options available.

Whilst pursuing the menu we enjoyed complimentary bread, butter and home-marinated olives.

To start, we devoured a scrumptious selection of cooked canapés, £4.50 per person, consisting of tempura prawns, tempura smoked salmon, chicken parfait, sausage rolls, bread and sweet chilli dip.

Other tempting starters include; homemade fish soup, pan-fried scallops, mussels, sardines, double baked cheese soufflé and French onion soup, to name but a few.

My main course was an appetizing dish of fresh meaty Monkfish medallions (Lotte a la Normande), sautéed in garlic, crayfish and lobster, with a Normandy butter emulsion, £22.95.

My husband opted for the oven baked fresh scallops, prawns, fresh crab and mushroom Mornay, glazed with a creamy, cheesy Mornay sauce, £22.95.

Both were equally impressive - full of fresh ingredients, authentic flavours and generous servings of fish. We shared side dishes of frites and seasonal vegetables.

Further options include; beef fillet, halibut, Dorset Lamb, venison, lobster, and seafood platters – Fruit de Mer.

Our journey of French fare was completed with amazing desserts; we had the thin and light apple pastry tart with vanilla ice cream, and Dorset honey Creme Brulee, topped with fresh fruits, both £6.95.

If you have the appetite, try their French crepes, Hazelnut Meringue or French cheeses, from what I hear they are to-die-for!

The Guildhall Tavern isn’t a pretentious venue, owners Severine and Frederic are firmly connected to their roots and have a created a friendly, relaxing, authentic French restaurant that I will definitely be returning to and the quality produce is worth every penny.

From sailing orrs hung on the wall, to nautical table clothes and driftwood decorations, they have created a perfect coastal haven.

New for 2015 is the beautiful, sunny courtyard – the outside space has been utilised to its full potential with flowers, lighting and stylish seating and is the perfect spot for alfresco meals.

French Evenings are regularly held with a special menu, live accordion player and a quiz – upcoming dates; June 25, August 20 and September 17. All their wines are available to take away from Sebastian’s wine cellar. 

Et Bon Appétit.

Guildhall Tavern, 15 Market Street, Poole,, 01202 671717