ALTHOUGH it’s the only purpose-built Art Deco hotel in Bournemouth, the Cumberland has not been slow to move with the times.

This stylish boutique hotel was restored to its former glory a few summers ago but with some contemporary twists. (I was pleased to see the flat-screen TV in the Ventana brasserie was switched off this time though!) Christian Seres, the bar and brasserie manager, has worked there for four years but hasn’t lost any of his enthusiasm for the place.

He proudly talked us through the new summer menu while we sipped our aperitifs –- chilled champagne with a refreshing elderflower syrup topped with a few raspberries on a cocktail stick.

For starters I was tempted by the crispy white bait served with a trio of dips (£5.95) but eventually plumped for the Crab Mayonnaise (£6.95) on Christian’s recommendation and it didn’t disappoint.

It was a good-sized pink globe of fresh shredded crab with slivers of avocado and cucumber served on green leaves with two triangles of buttered brown toast. The chef had even taken the trouble to remove the crusts – my son would have approved!

My husband chose the chef’s home-made pate (£6.95), a robust combination of duck liver and smoked bacon with piccalilli in a separate ramekin and a round of granary toast rubbed in English mustard butter – a tasty, tongue-tingling combination.

Although the hotel is renowned for its gourmet burgers that are freshly made on the premises, I decided to go with Christian’s recommendation once again as he knows the menu so well – the pan-seared halibut steak (£14.95).

And I’m so glad I did as it was the best fish dish I’ve had in a while. The steak was perfectly cooked – meaty, tender with no fiddly fish bones – served on crushed new potatoes and surrounded with a smattering of plump mussels baked in their shells and drizzled with a white wine cream sauce.

I noticed my other half looking at my beautifully presented plate with what I detected to be a touch of dinner envy which soon evaporated once he’d clocked his Mussels & Bacon in Cider (£10.95) accompanied with a side portion of light, crispy Julienne fries.

Being a traditional Moules Mariniere man, he wasn’t sure that he would like such a heady combination of flavours with his seafood, but it really worked and he was soon mopping up every last drop.

Although my waist-band was starting to take the strain by this point, I couldn’t resist rounding off this feast with a dollop of New Forest ice cream with moist chunks of coconut while my husband devoured a large strawberry Knickerbocker Glory.

Although the Cumberland is situated on Bournemouth’s East Cliff you can imagine that you’re somewhere more exotic with its view of the outdoor palm-tree lined pool and stylish Lido Deck.

We have already vowed to return for the new Retro Pool Parties with Mediterranean barbecue, 1970s music and classic drinks such as Babycham, Martini and Cherry B on Ice, available at weekends and Bank Holidays as long as the sun is shining!

If you’re feeling the pinch, the Ventana still runs its buy one main meal get one free every Monday to Thursday between 12pm and 6pm until July 22.

Or why not turn up for Afternoon Tea between 3pm to 5pm which has proved to be a roaring success since launching last September – once again proving that the Cumberland can cater for every pocket and palate.