LOCATION, location, location - it’s as true in the restaurant world as anywhere else, and the revamped Riverside Restaurant at Marlow’s Compleat Angler hotel occupies arguably the prime spot in the idyllic riverside town.

Nestled alongside the bridge at the water’s edge, the vista on show as my girlfriend Tori and I strolled towards the riverside entrance is simply stunning, and came alive at the warm spring dusk when the lit up church and lights of the River Thames weir shimmered into life.

Thankfully, the views aren’t the only thing to get excited about at the four-star hotel’s new eatery, which has undergone a full refurbishment as part of the 400-year-old building’s £600,000 restoration.

The food is delicious, with the freshness of the ingredients apparent throughout our excellent, varied and impeccably presented three course dinner.

It's hard to overstate the prettiness of its riverside location, with the gurgle of water on the weir a pleasant reminder of the scene whenever we dropped our eyes towards the pretty, refined dishes.

For starter I ordered the crab ravioli (£13.50), which turned out to be the best decision I made since putting my hand up to review this fine new restaurant.

The lobster bisque it rubbed shoulders with was rich and creamy, but didn’t overshadow for a second the heady crab filling in the al dente squid ink ravioli, which was as fresh as a lungful of sea air aboard a north sea trawler.

Add to that the soft and tender langoustine tails and this holy trinity of the ocean constituted one of the best starters I have ever sampled.

Tori opted for the scallop tartar (£11.75), which with its cool, zesty lemon freshness presented a total contrast to the richness of the ravioli and slid down satisfyingly.

For my main course, it had to be the beef fillet (£29.50). The aggressively seasoned tarragon butter was just right, like being held down and lightly tickled - any harder and the sensation would have been too much.

However, the fillet, was cooked a smidgen over the medium-rare I requested, requiring the services of the perky stilton croquets for me to get over my slight disappointment.

Tori’s hake fillet (£23.50) was simplicity at its best - a perfectly cooked slab of fish which was left to speak for itself while the lion’s share of the flavour work was carried out by the incredibly moreish orange-infused balls of gnocchi.

Dessert brought with it a whole new raft of pleasures, with my soft iced peanut parfait (£8.25) giving way to an almost overwhelming ooze of salted caramel at its fluffy centre.

And while Tori’s dark chocolate and passion fruit millefeuille £8.75 paled into significance to the splendid peanut plate, she at least happily enjoyed most of it between foiled attempts to lunge at my dessert with her spoon.

The new surroundings are fresh and modern, with the clean, soft grey and the mesmerising maze-like carpet are evidently all of top quality.

It straddles the old and the new without losing too much of the traditional charm that the rest of this riverside hotel boasts, and the food certainly hits the right balance.

Oh, and did I mention the location?


Go to www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk/our-hotels/macdonald-compleat-angler/ for more details.