Not long ago, during one of many food-related conversations which take place in our office, it was collectively agreed that Sandbanks was missing a modern, stylish and most importantly, really good restaurant.

We gazed musingly out of the window at the cold and darkening beach, ice cream a distant memory, and hoped that our dream restaurant would arrive on Banks Road and give us the odd reason to treat ourselves, have business meetings, or escape for a fish n’ chip Friday during the winter – when the peninsula becomes too windy and bleak to take a lunchtime walk.

I can’t quite remember the first time we heard the whisperings that Rick Stein was considering opening up next door, but when it was confirmed we’d be working on the same street as one of the finest fish restaurant operations in the UK – and that we would be supporting him on the guest list for his launch event – we were very excited. While Jill Stein created the bright open space next door, we forensically studied the menu on the restaurant website.

We weren’t the only people filled with anticipation. Rick’s launch event was one of the most sought-after tickets we’ve worked on – and when we arrived for the soft launch on Thursday, we could tell it was going to live up to our expectations.

The bar is inviting, the restaurant is airy and light and local artwork hangs on the walls.  The sun shone on the ocean through the huge French windows, as we were served Prosecco and fed plateau de fruits de mer and lobster thermidor until the cows came home.

However, the highlight was Rick’s impromptu arrival in the afternoon. After checking all was running smoothly with his staff and in the kitchen, he sat quietly in the restaurant with some of his team and happily signed copies of his latest book for those who’d bought it. What’s more, he even posed for a ‘shelfie’!