THE Dew Pond Restaurant at Old Burgclere, just off the old A34 Whitchurch to Newbury Road, is a family-owned fine dining establishment located in a delightful large former house, but retains a domestic sense of scale.

On a warm July evening, drinks were served on the terrace which afforded lovely views of the North Hampshire Downs and from there we made our selections for dinner, sipping a glass of champagne and nibbling at the cheese straws, olives and pistachio nuts.

The menu is a fixed price one (£36) for three courses and there are about six choices at each course, with a modest supplement on the scallops starter (£3), aged fillet of beef main course (£5) and assiette of desserts (£3).

All that is left to pay for is drinks, wine, coffee and gratuities.

The impression of a fine dining experience is sealed when one sees the generous provision of white linen napery and good china, glass and flatware in the L-shaped dining room adorned with interesting pictures and rural views out through the cottagey windows.

Also good service comes both from the wife of the chef/proprietor and two friendly and efficient waiters, who offered us some small homemade bread rolls, which were of good quality.

My wife had ordered the twice baked soufflé of Keens Cheddar, rocket cress and spring onion cream followed by best end of Hampshire lamb with grilled Provençale vegetables, rosemary and garlic, and enjoyed it thoroughly.

I ordered the seared scallops, pea puree, crispy ham and pea shoots followed by suckling pig belly, tenderloin and black pudding with baby leeks, tenderstem broccoli, creamed potato, Granny Smith puree and calvados.

The cooking of the scallops was well-judged and sat well in taste with the pea puree and crispy ham.

The pork belly and tenderloin was excellent, being both tender, moist and flavoursome and the vegetables were al dente. Both of my savoury courses went well with my Alsace Gewurztraminer wine.

As the menu states, the assiette of desserts is there for “for those who can’t make up their mind” – and one can see why, given that we had a choice of full portions of either lemon and elderflower posset with raspberries and shortbread, terrine of white and dark chocolate with hazelnuts and a coffee bean sauce, pavlova of English strawberries, sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce, praline and vanilla ice cream or caramel parfait with apple puree, apple sorbet and caramel sauce.

With wines from £17 and the reasonable price set against the quality of the cuisine and charming location, one may not need just a celebratory reason to dine here, although your guests would be in for a real treat.