The Wined & Dined Story
Wined & Dined started out in 2012 as a mobile catering company covering the whole of Argyll and beyond. In fact, our name comes from the idea that we would bring our fine dining experience to you in the comfort of your home or private function. To this day we still offer a private catering service, freshly preparing high quality, seasonal dishes for birthdays, weddings, canape parties and even for Christmas.
Early in 2014 we took up residence in the restaurant of The Oakbank Hotel in Sandbank near Dunoon and made a name for ourselves offering an exclusive dining experience that was popular with locals and tourists alike. The restaurant went from strength to strength, and by 2017 we’d outgrown the hotel’s dining space and sought out our own premises.
As luck would have it the Boathouse, on Victoria Parade in Dunoon, came up for lease in 2018. It’s a beautiful building, with great views, in a stunning location, and it had already been refitted to operate as a cafe/restaurant, making it the obvious choice.
The Boathouse is a symbol of Dunoon’s rich architectural heritage, and we wanted to honour that by keeping the name, so we became ‘Wined&Dined @TheBoathouse’. The location of the new premises combined with the high quality of our food and service meant that we quickly started attracting foodies from all over the world.
2019 is one of the most important years in our history as we’re looking to launch our own branded gins, push our food production, and venture our business overseas. So watch this space!
Our Head Chef, David
Currently, David is Owner, Head Chef and Manager of Wined & Dined. This is a testament to his passion and enthusiasm for showcasing great food from Dunoon and Argyll. Just ask about any of the dishes on the menu, or inquire about the hundreds of gins on display, and his enthusiasm is evident.
Originally from Glasgow, David cut his teeth in deluxe, 5 star hotels in central London, as well as seizing the opportunity to work in Michelin star kitchens throughout London and Oxford. He’s had the benefit of working alongside great chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Marcus Wareing, Ramond Blanc and Angela Hartnett, not to mention a wealth of unrecognized industry leaders from whom he’s learned how to source, and forage for, ingredients from the local environment.
It was a girl that brought David to Argyll, he settled in Dunoon with his partner and quickly fell in love with the wild landscapes and theatrical weather of the Cowal peninsula, which after all, is not too far from where he grew up in the bustling city of Glasgow. Before embarking on the Wined & Dined adventure, David worked as one of the chefs at nearby Inver Restaurant which, incidentally, is another fantastic restaurant for those who enjoy original Scottish cuisine.
Things to do in Dunoon
On the surface, Dunoon seems like a sleepy village with not much to do. That’s great if all you want to do is relax and enjoy a sumptuous repast, some botanical gins and a constitutional walk. However, we often have customers asking for advice on what do do whilst here, or people asking us about the best places to stay in Dunoon when they come to visit our restaurant.
There’s actually all sorts of accommodation and activities on offer if you know where to look but, being a small town, often the only marketing is word of mouth! Below we’ve provided some useful links and ideas, but first we should mention that our neighbour, Castle House Museum, aside from being a great tourist attraction themselves, also have a fantastic information page on their website full of suggestions for things to do in Dunoon and the surrounding areas.
Top tip! If you’re driving to Dunoon and want to take the ferry, it’s much cheaper to buy your tickets from local agents than it is to get them on the boat. If you’re coming in via Gourock, then stop at Paul’s Food and Wine, 94 Shore Street. Once you’re on the Cowal peninsula, there are a whole range of places to buy cheap tickets. Now you know what the locals know!
Where to stay?
Whether it’s a flying visit, or you’re staying for the whole summer, Dunoon and the surrounding areas will have an accommodation solution to suit.
- Home Farm Cottages – luxury self-catering holiday accommodation in tranquil rural locations.
- Shelford Holiday Apartment – luxury waterfront holiday home, featuring a private hot tub, and a wood burning fire.
- Lamont Lodges – affording spectacular views of unspoiled Argyll countryside, just 6 miles north of Dunoon.
- Puck’s Glen Lodges – luxury, self-catering, log cabins near romantic Puck’s Glen, and beautiful Benmore Botanic Gardens.
- Douglas Park Guest House – high quality Bed and Breakfast, with a personal touch, walking distance from Dunoon centre.
- Cedars Guest House – open all year round offering 4-star accommodation, with bright, spacious ensuite bedrooms.
- Thistle House, Cairndow – rural location and period style accommodation, awarded a 4 star Gold accreditation from Visit Scotland.
- The Anchorage – lovely detached Victorian house offers comfort, tranquility and an escape from the hustle and bustle.
- Abbots Brae Hotel – nestled high amongst established woodland with sensational views, a luxurious home away from home.
- St Ives Hotel – a bright and cosy boutique Victorian guesthouse with modern amenities and creature comforts.
- The Creggans Inn – with commanding views over Loch Fyne, cosy accommodation, a great restaurant and a lounge bar.
- Portavadie Marina – although a little further afield, Portavadie offers a range of top quality accommodation options.
If you’re bringing the whole clan to Dunoon, perhaps for a wedding celebration or family holiday, then we particularly recommend Hafton Castle and Hunters Quay Holiday Village.
What to do?
Cowal and Argyll are filled with activities for all kinds of holiday. From galleries and museums to outdoor adventures and water-sports. On our doorstep is our very own Mini-Golf course, you can hire clubs and golf balls from the restaurant. For rainy days there’s always Dunoon’s Studio Cinema, a small outfit with only two screens but it manages to schedule a strong range of top titles. Or hop on one of the regular passenger ferries to a relaxing afternoon in Gourock Outdoor Pool.
If you’re staying further out, in Inveraray perhaps, then why not make a day of it in Dunoon? Spend the morning enjoying the art exhibitions in Burgh Hall, join us for lunch or dinner, then see a show in Queen’s Hall, or catch a movie in the cinema as the sun begins to set. If you’re still looking for excitement before you head back to your accommodation, you’re likely to find a local live band in at least one of the bars on Argyll St.
And if all of that sounds too strenuous for you, perhaps you’d prefer to while away the day at Innellan Golf Club’s immaculate 9 hole course.
- Castle House Museum – showcasing the history of Dunoon and Cowal from neolithic times to nuclear submarines.
- Benmore Botanic Gardens – Benmore’s 120 acre, mountainside gardens feature a world-famous collection of exotic plants.
- Historic Kilmun (Argyll Mausoleum) – rich layers of historical heritage, the Campbell mausoleum; a potted history of Scotland!
- The Gruffalo Trail – situated in the 4800 hectare Ardkinglas Estate, this short walk is a perfect way to stretch the little ones’ legs.
On Land Activities
- Deer Stalking with Winston Churchill – whether sportsman or photographer, our local venison supplier can accommodate you.
- Benmore Outdoor Activity Centre – one-stop shop for accommodation, facilities and activities for an unforgettable Scottish experience.
- Cycling & Mountain Biking – nearby Glenbranter Forest is the perfect place to spend the day walking or cycling.
- Loch Fyne Ales – this local brewery supply fine ales to Scotland and all good pubs. Enjoy a tour or relax in the tap room.
On Water Activities
- Wreckspeditions – full diving charters, scuba diving, boat trips and rib rides on the Clyde and surrounding areas.
- Toward Sailing Club – at the southernmost point of the Cowal Peninsula, with access to fantastic sailing and sea kayaking waters.
- Majestic Line Cruises – exclusive, small-ship cruises perfect for an island hopping adventure and departing from Holy Loch Marina.
- Sea Kayaking Argyll – a sea kayak coaching, guiding and expedition company specialising in small groups, bespoke activities, and coaching.
Where to eat?
It should go without saying that we’re the best place to eat in Dunoon, but what about further afield? We get a lot of foodies who are attempting to ‘eat their way across Scotland’. Some recommend other establishments they’ve enjoyed and most ask us for suggestions.
- Inver, Strachur – a small, characterful restaurant with a fixed, four course menu offering a contemporary take on forgotten Scottish dishes.
- Loch Fyne Oyster Bar, Cairndow – one of Scotland’s genuine gastronomic icons, with a clean, unfussy menu and quality, fresh ingredients.
- Brambles, Inveraray – great cafe, fantastic accommodation and coffee so good that we ask them to supply us! An institution.
- Ardanaiseig, Taynuilt – classic, seasonal food, remarkable intricacy, though not over-trendy (every main comes with some decent carbs).
Highlands of Scotland
- The Three Chimneys, Skye – a culinary ethos based upon true integrity & fresh, seasonal produce from Skye and the Scottish Highlands.
- Shorehouse, Tarbet – specialise in serving shellfish caught within sight of your table using their own boat. Fresher than fresh seafood!
- The Whitehouse, Lochaline – constantly evolving blackboard menu showcasing local seafood, game and garden produce.
- Arisaig House, Beasdale – seasonal dishes using produce from walled gardens and the natural larder of the surrounding hills and sea.
- Ubiquitous Chip – continually inspired by Scotland’s larder, a Glasgow icon since 1971, endearing and magical courtyard dining room.
- Stravaigin – ‘Think Global, Eat Local’ ethos showcasing Scottish produce, that isn’t tethered to its roots, since 1994.
- The Gannet – multi-award winning restaurant in Finnieston, the best of Scottish produce dictated by the rhythms of the British seasons.
- Chakoo Bombay Cafe – experience the incredible flavours, smells and atmosphere of a classic Iranian cafe, right in the heart of Glasgow.