With its Sky Bar offering dramatic views across the town and a modern British restaurant serving bold dishes using the freshest local ingredients, Hilton Bournemouth is THE newest place to eat.

Its location in the heart of the town centre means the smart LEVEL8IGHT Sky Bar, situated on the eighth floor of the striking building, offers enviable views of coastline alongside seaside-inspired cocktails, fine wines and premium spirits.

The outside terrace will certainly be a hit during the warmer months, while afternoon tea is available from noon each day, and the venue now also offers a tapas style menu featuring fresh seafood, small plates and sharing platters.

Downstairs on the ground floor, the Schpoons & Forx restaurant manages to be both cosy and bright and airy, with an urban design and open plan kitchen which makes for a lively atmosphere.

After enjoying a pre-dinner drink in the stylish Sky Bar, we are greeted downstairs by restaurant manager Andy Pugh, and instantly put at ease as he takes a seat at our table in the window to chat through the menu, which has been devised by chef and broadcaster Matt Tebbutt.

We chose some focaccia and ciabatta (£3.90) to share while we perused the menu. Other 'For the table' options include crisp cockles (£3.90), Dorset charcuterie (£6) and truffled cheese flatbread (£6.90).

I decided on the sauteed scallops (£11.50) to start, while my husband went for the slow cooked pig's cheeks (£9.50).

Each table is situated around the open kitchen, so it was fascinating to watch the team of chefs at work while we waited for our food to be prepared.

The dishes were attractively presented in dark-coloured, heavy crockery. My scallops were served with tasty ham hock in a light broth, mustard fruits and salsa verde and were deliciously succulent, while the pig's cheeks were cooked in parsley, garlic, melted onions and green chilli, making for a mouthwatering melted mass of flavour.

For our main courses we chose the 400g tandoor roasted rib steak (£33) and the whole herb roasted poussin (£15.50).

The tandoor and stone oven is the focal point of the kitchen, instantly sealing the meat's flavour while retaining its juices.

My husband's steak, which was served with watercress and duck fat scraps (or chips, to you and me), needed no accompaniment, and was declared cooked to perfection. Not usually a steak lover myself, even I was pleasantly surprised at how full of flavour the meat was.

The poussin was, again, a generous portion, accompanied by a sausage and smoked port cassoulet. The meat had a satisfying chargrilled flavour and pretty much fell off the bone, while the cassoulet was rich and smokey. I ordered a side of Jersey cream mash which was wonderfully smooth with a slightly fragrant taste.

Feeling full, we had a brief break before looking at the dessert menu, but couldn't resist the lure of the chocolate tart and the pavlova to finish off our meal.

My husband managed to polish off the deliciously smooth, rich tart, but I had to admit defeat at the pavlova, which was much larger than expected, but delightfully fresh, topped with passion fruit and slivers of pineapple.

Whether you fancy a cosy dinner for two, or a more social affair with a group of friends, both the Sky Bar and Schpoons & Forx are highly recommended for a classy, yet relaxed dining experience.

(BLOB) hilton.com/Bournemouth, 01202 200187