The sun illuminated like stained glass the iridescent blue sky which swept above the breaking waves on to the beach.
On a Sunday lunchtime, when summer finally staked its seasonal claim on Bognor Regis, there could be no more perfect setting for a late morning walk - or backdrop for lunch with family and friends.
The Best Western Beachcroft Hotel and Restaurant is sublimely located at Clyde Road, Felpham, facing as it does directly toward the sea and limitless horizon beyond.
The huge glass windows of the restaurant gaze straight toward the beach, giving diners a sense of light and space.
The welcome here from the staff is always as warm as the sunshine on the brightest of days. It is no surprise that the hotel was awarded the Chichester Observer’s Employer of the Year in the 2015 business awards.
This is a family run establishment and everyone waiting at table rewards you with a cheerful good humour that makes you know that this is as special a place in which to work as it is to dine as a customer.
Charlotte, Jack, and Lily looked after us on our latest visit and could not have been more attentive.
The Beachcroft has many accolades to its credit, not least the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence, and that is due in no small part to the care and kindness of everyone employed there.
We visited for Sunday lunch with family and friends when Head Chef on Duty was Tony Bazley.
The food is always tremendous value. We enjoyed a choice of Sunday roasts for main - just £9.95 including roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, and a feast of seasonal vegetables.
The pork proved a particular favourite.
Starters and desserts are a great bargain too. If you are having a main you can add them for just £4.25 each.
I chose the continental meat platter to begin, it was a special of the day. The others in our party opted for the tropical prawn cocktail and the smoked salmon mousse from the main menu.
It is all prettily presented but also does justice to the mightiest of appetites too.
The desserts were amazing - some of the best we have ever enjoyed at the Beachcroft. The white chocolate and morello cherry cheesecake and the vanilla panacotta are regulars on the menu and were terrific.
We also chose the stem ginger and lemon torte from the specials’ board and a chocolate pudding.
As the saying goes, we ate not wisely but too well. It was all delicious.
The Beachcroft has a range of superbly priced special dining events. The highlights include Steak Fridays - two 8oz sirloin steaks and a bottle of wine for just £29.95 - and Fish Thursdays.
The fish evenings are a particular treat featuring locally caught fresh fish.
Jazz Sundays, Steak and Jazz nights, and kids under 12 eat free offers are also big hits.
But the Beachcroft has one other speciality up its sleeve. Its ability to cater for large family groups and private parties in a way smaller restaurants might find difficult to match.
On Sunday there was a party of 14 enjoying a surprise party to celebrate an 80th birthday.
Manager on Duty Phill Roberts said they are launching a new menu on June 1. “We’re reintroducing seabass which was very popular and we have a really wide variety of new desserts all homemade and all prepared in house. The chef is trying out some new recipes. So we’ve got things like chocolate mint tart and Pimms summer jelly.
“We’ve kept some old favourites. So popular dishes like the Chicken Dianne will stay. But we’ve added West Sussex pork chops with a three peppercorn sauce and apple mash. We are also launching beef stroganoff - fillets of beef with white and wild rice. And my personal favourite, we will be introducing a gourmet burger with sweet potato fries.”
If it’s been a while since you last visited, do try the new menu - or one of the speciality dining events. And if you are looking for a great setting and great value for a family meal put the Beachcroft to the top of your list too!
www.beachcroft-hotel.co.uk telephone 01243 827142.