HIGH expectations can often lead to bitter disappointment but after being served a succession of rich tasty food at the Berystede Hotel it left more than a sweet after taste.

From the moment we arrived at the luxury Macdonald Berystede Hotel and Spa in Ascot my girlfriend and I knew we were soon to sample the finer things in life.

Having been greeted by a grand and warm reception we were seated in a chic, modern, restaurant where it became obvious this was a place for every occasion.

Businessmen, elderly couples, young families and spa guests were all at home in the fashionable dining area.

I decided to choose two of the richest meals on the prolific menu, although the assistant restaurant manager told me I would not be let down by my choices.

I started with the braised pork cheek (£6) and was pleasantly surprised at the selection of the accompanying crushed turnip and apple and mustard compote.

The tender pork, which on its own would have been too strong, was perfectly balanced with the delicate compote.

My girlfriend decided to try the grilled fillet of mackerel which at £6 came with an intriguing horseradish ice cream.

The cold supplement once again proved the mastermind of the hotel's chefs when it came to picking a variety of ingredients to enhance the overall impact of the dish.

On its own the ice cream would be seen as odd and unusual but together it added to the well flavoured fish which was served with beetroot and caramelised hazelnuts.

For mains my girlfriend went for the classic rump steak served with heritage hand cut chips which at £20 was well worth it.

The perfectly cooked meat was better than expected with the side of shallot onion rings, Portobello mushrooms and slow cooked plum tomato.

However, my slightly envious taste buds soon forgot about my partner’s choice as I tasted the lamb tagine (£22).

Cooked pink, I could not fault the meal. The braised lamb belly was served with a pan fried lamb rump tagine, seasoned spinach, a red pepper sauce and soft quinoa.

Soon after we were convinced to try a sweet treat each for dessert with a blueberry fool (£7) and a lemon and raspberry based pudding (£7).

The light and creamy fool was the perfect pudding to taste after a fairly heavy first two courses.

While my extremely sugary choice proved to be very enjoyable with a lemon curd, mixed with meringue, mini chocolate pancakes and marshmallows, all feeding my sweet tooth.

The excellent food and service along with the stylish setting proved greater than our earlier high expectations and a return to the welcoming Berystede is definitely on the cards.

Go to www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk/our-hotels/macdonald-berystede-hotel-spa