A CHILLY wind blew us into Breeze recently and we were instantly embraced by a warm and friendly atmosphere.

It could partly be due to us bumping into friends who had popped in for a drink after work (they had got comfortable on the sofas and stayed longer than planned).

Inside, clean modern lines are softened with ambient lighting, warm woods and textured upholstery, while outside, you can’t miss the bright signage on Bournemouth’s Charminster Road. There’s also a covered terrace to the side.

Any occasion warrants a visit to Breeze which serves lunches, bar snacks, and drinks.

It’s also known for its weekend breakfasts and lazy Sundays where roasts are served between noon and 6pm.

We were there to sample the dinner menu, and a very lovely lady lead us through to the restaurant area which, while away from the bar, was open plan enough to people watch and make us feel part of things.

On the subject of people watching, the huge windows offered a generous vista of bustling and cosmopolitan Charminster outside.

The menu is a blend of the familiar with the slightly unusual, and on our visit there were favourites such as home-made beef burgers, Dorset honey roast ham & eggs or beer battered herby fish & chips.

I was intrigued by the sharing platters such as the honey and mustard roasted ham hock with cheeses and chutneys, coleslaw and bread. And I’d happily squabble over the roasted Mediterranean platter with a friend, complete with hummus, tsatziki, mixed salad, olives, buffalo mozzarella with bread and oils.

To start, I nearly went for the special of home-made butternut squash, orange and ginger soup, but opted for the creamy wild garlic mushrooms on a toasted ciabatta with mixed leaves (£5).

While creamy, this dish remained surprisingly light with a faint trace of citrus. A drizzle of green salsa and balsamic reduction were thoughtful additions and turned a very delicious starter into something quite sophisticated.

My friend was equally impressed with her oak smoked salmon (£6.50), a good portion of butter-soft salmon with honey & mustard dressing, capers and roquette which all added their own piquancy. To follow, I was almost swayed by the home made pork faggots with apple confit and ale gravy, which at £5.95 offered excellent value for money.

But when our waitress said they had just one sea bass fillet left, I couldn’t let that one go.

This beautiful fish (£11.95) was pan fried until the skin was crisp, and served on a bed of coconut rice. Although the menu said it was ‘drizzled’ with aromatic green Thai curry sauce, the reality was much more generous, and the whole dish was a total delight. It had chunky textures and deep flavours, with a smattering of chillis which could easily be discarded if you didn’t want the fire.

My friend – a confirmed carnivore – surprisingly chose the vegetarian sweet potato, parsnip and halloumi curry (£8.95) served with coconut rice. She was in raptures over it, especially as the beautifully grilled halloumi cheese was served on the side and not completely buried in the sauce.

Desserts are all priced £3.95, and from the specials board I had the apple tarte tartin, served warm with crème Anglaise. My friend had the Torda tiramisu soft sponge, soaked with espresso coffee and liqueur, filled with zabaglione. She commented at the time that it wasn’t the soggy, trifle-like dessert she was used to, but that didn’t stop her eating every last crumb.

This lounge bar and restaurant has been open for a little less than a year, but already it has attracted a solid clientele base, as well first prize in the BH Business lunch awards.

You could say they were making things look a breeze...

Breeze Lounge Bar & Restaurant. 1-7 Charminster Road, Bournemouth BH8 8UE.

Telephone 01202 555145 for reservations Open Monday-Thursday, 11am-11pm, Friday, 11am-midnight, Saturday 9am-midnight and Sunday 9am-11pm.