IT TOOK about 10 minutes of stubborn shivering before we relented, retreating indoors from our pretty riverside table.

Warm sunshine had spurred us to seek a lunchtime spot with some outdoor space and, as the name promised, the Waterfront Café near Benson delivered plenty.

Sadly clouds had formed by the time we arrived, and we soon craved the comfort of a roof and four walls.

Thankfully the view from inside, behind a floor-to-ceiling glass pane, was almost as picturesque as it was from the decked veranda.

Boats were docked on the water's edge beyond the ample split-level seating areas, bobbing on the tree-lined River Thames.

It was busy despite it being a Monday afternoon - families, boaters and couples soaked up the surroundings, apparently hardier than us.

The etiquette, as we learned, is to take a seat with a menu then order and pay at the counter.

A variety of light bites and more hearty homemade dishes were listed on the menu - a Mediterranean mezze platter (£12.95) caught my eye, as did the beef chilli nachos loaded with cheese, soured cream and guacamole (£10.95).

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Brunch is available until 4pm, including eggs Royale (£6.75), while sandwiches and baguettes range from £6.50 for the classics to £9.95 for specialities such as the 'posh fish fingers' with lemon mayonnaise.

Salads, soup, pizzas and pasta are thrown in for good measure.

Slightly overwhelmed by the choice, I stuck to one of my go-to options - a warm goats' cheese salad with beetroot and walnuts (£12.95).

Tom chose homemade beef chilli, swapping rice for chips (£11.95).

The cheese was tasty but the salad itself was a little uninspiring, especially as all of the components were cold - fresh tomato, cucumber and iceberg lettuce did not marry so well with the rest of the dish.

According to the menu it should have had a nut oil drizzle, but I couldn't taste that.

It was pleasant enough but I have had better -

the goats' cheese salad at The Mole springs to mind.

Tom enjoyed his chilli, which delivered a healthy kick of spice.

The real stars of our meal, however, were the homemade cakes, temptingly exhibited at the cashier's counter and impossible to resist.

We shared a lemon and lime sponge, tangy and moist with a thick buttercream crust, and a banoffee cake, which had a pudding-like texture and was topped with an indulgent slick of caramel.

The cakes alone, made better by the beautiful backdrop, make this place worth the trip out.

The Waterfront Café, A4074, Benson, 01491 833732.