THERE are far worse scenes to overlook than a 40-acre estate in the New Forest over dinner.

And thanks to the glass atrium of the new Grill Room at Rhinefield House, diners can enjoy the landscaped terraces, huge ponds and sweeping lawns well into the evening.

Launched in June this year, The Grill Room offers an alternative to the Armada fine dining restaurant at the hotel. And as its name would suggest, the majority of its dishes come straight from the grill – making the most of good quality local fare.

“We wanted to capture the atmosphere of the Savoy Grill, or Simpsons in the Strand, harking back to the success of these famous London Grill Rooms 80 to 100 years ago.” explained general manager Jonathan Owen.

Parts of the menu is reflective of these times, too, with timeless classics such as oysters and smoked salmon sitting alongside chateaubriand and crepes suzette.

Yet the ambience is modern, with clean, simple lines to its furniture and lighting.

As a Handpicked Hotel, it has a commitment to local produce and reducing its carbon footprint as much as possible. And you can’t get much closer than herbs cultivated in the grounds, or New Forest mushrooms foraged from the Rhinefield Estate.

The fish on the menu is landed locally, and meat is from the Hampshire Angus as well as the Hatchett herd of pedigree Dexter cattle which roams the New Forest and is based at a holding near Beaulieu within five miles of Rhinefield House.

The Dexter is a small breed with a low yield, but the cattle are raised in a slow, natural manner and fed on a grass-based diet which gives the beef its succulent flavour.

Knowing this, my friend couldn’t resist trying the sirloin steak from the Beaulieu Dexter (£28), served with her choice of a herby, spicy café de Paris butter.

I went for the fillet of New Forest pork (£22) and opted for peppercorn sauce on the side. Both dishes were served simply on a thick, rustic wooden board with crisp French beans and superb triple-cooked, hand-cut chips.

The quality of the meat was unparalleled. It was succulent, full of flavour and needed little in the way of accompaniment.

To start we’d had the sharing plate of salt and pepper squid, marinated feta cheese, chorizo, baby plum tomatoes and garlic bread hot off the grill (£19.50), while our desert of glazed lemon tart with raspberry sorbet (£8.50) was a lovely, light end to a superb meal.

Many dishes caught our eye, though, including the seafood casserole for two with olive oil mash, and the whole lemon sole with shallots, leeks, white wine, button mushrooms, soft herbs and cream. I guess we’ll just have to go back to try those.

If you don’t have a sweet tooth, how about going for a dessert of warm truffled monks folly cheese with apple jelly and hazelnut and date bread?

Take it outside to eat– yes, that’s allowed – and enjoy it by lantern-light while a fountain tumbles nearby.

Walk the grounds, say hello to the fish in the pond, see if you can spot the resident kingfisher or the deer, and generally soak up the atmosphere of the imposing property built in 1887.

“We want people to feel completely at home here,” said Jonathan Owen. “If you want to eat a cream tea by the swimming pool that’s fine. Or kick off your shoes and put your feet up in one of our 15 lounges that’s OK, too.

“And we’re quite happy to serve an evening meal at six o clock, or breakfast at two in the afternoon if that’s what you’d prefer.

“We want to give people the best dining experience possible.”

• The Grill Room at the Rhinefield House Hotel, Rhinefield Road, Brockenhurst, SO42 7QB Telephone 0845 072 7516 for reservations