2 Courses for £15.95 & 3 Courses for £19.95

L’assiette is sophisticatedly romantic; the black glass tables, deep purple feature wall and impeccably sparkling table settings make it the perfect place to take a date in the evening. But it also strikes a good balance with casual dining too, and I feel quite happy strolling inside at lunch time for a table for one.

Firstly, it’s important to note that Liassiette’s location, whilst not in the main shopping area of Southbourne, is still in Southbourne, and therefore, a stone’s throw from the beautiful beach and a small walk from the bars and coffee shops that make up yet another one of Bournemouth’s interesting little nooks.

I can only guess at this being the main reason why it isn’t heaving inside at lunch time, like the other places, and I take a seat by the window, quite relived to have found a sumptious spot all of my very own. I can certainly imagine the evening service here is much more atmospheric, with music, candles, and hopefully, a date.

The restaurant has been open almost a year now, and the focus on local, seasonal produce is reflected in the menu. I choose from a three course menu at £15.95, and wait in the plush but not pretentious surroundings of L’assiette, served by a perfectly prim and pleasantly friendly man I later find out is the owner, Thomas.

I peer through the service hatch to watch the chef dressing my Caesar salad and it shortly arrives on my table. I hate to say yet another clichéd phrase, but the egg is cooked to perfection! Something so simple, needs be done right and to my delight, it is. The bacon is crisp and all the elements of the dish are great.

A short while later and my seafood risotto arrives. It’s not short on seafood, that’s for sure. I count seven scallops, although of the small variety, they’re just cooked and I welcome the subtle sweetness they bring to the dish. There are juicy muscles, and plump, pink prawns. I could’ve handled a fishier stock, but the taste of Basil Pesto and Parmesan shaving make my meal utterly scrummy. I’m surprised at the quality of food considering the price. In other restaurants, this dish alone would have cost £15.

My dessert is also impressive, perfectly set and deliciously creamy, it’s a vanilla and yoghurt Pannacotta with Sopley Farm Rhubarb jelly and compote. The Rhubarb compote provide a tart contrast to the creamy Pannacotta, and it’s a delicious end to a tasty meal.

I leave with a clear ambition to come back in the evening, to experience some of the canapes and other delights owner Thomas filled me in on later. Any restaurant that supports local businesses buying local produce and selling them on at reasonable prices, I applaud, but the ones that do it so deliciously well, I put on my list of restaurants to revisit.”