Weymouth’s harbour is bustling with restaurants, pubs and bars, but none are quite like Vinolo.
Perched on the edge of the harbour, this classy establishment serves a small but flavour-packed menu of antipasti boards along with a superb selection of wines and gins.
Vinolo originally opened in 2015 on a side street close to the harbour, but due to its popularity moved to this superior location with a much larger space in 2019.
We arrived for lunch in late September, and the weather gods were clearly looking fondly upon us. The sun was out casting a warm glow over the outdoor seating area, so we chose a table just a few metres from the harbour’s edge.
Carl Macshilton who owns and runs Vinolo, was our waiter for the day. His friendly demeanour and excellent knowledge of wine pairings go down well with the locals – it was clear by their easy banter that many of our fellow diners were regulars.
Throughout the Autumn months, Vinolo will be hosting various wine tastings, cheese and wine quizzes and weekly Fondue Fridays in November.
We began our lunch with a glass of red. Carl recommended the Syrah, Carignan and Grenache from the Languedoc region of France, one of his personal favourites. It was, in a word, delicious, with a delicate spiciness that tasted even better with the sun on my face.
I was impressed that most of the wine list is less than £30 a bottle, a rare thing indeed for a wine bar. Carl is also planning to offer the majority of wines by the glass due to popular demand.
If you’re on the hunt for something stronger than wine, then don’t despair. Vivino also serves 47 different kinds of gins, all with suggested tonic pairings.
The two-page menu is short and sweet. Nibbles include Italian olives and sweet balsamic onions, and the starters on offer are mini versions of the cheese and antipasti boards.
My suggestion is to skip the starters and instead go for one of the spectacular sharing boards.
The crowning glory is the aptly named “Delicious Deli Board”, which at £28 for two is a bargain. With this you get a little bit of everything including three different types of cheese, three types of charcuterie and a glorious pile of nibbly bits including sundried tomatoes, balsamic onions, pickles, red peppers and cornichons.
The board also comes with a generous basket of bread and crackers, and you can request some chutney if you like.
Carl told us he wanted to offer variety in a dish with flavours from different countries, and he has certainly succeeded.
Our charcuterie included Bresaola and Napoli Salami from Italy, which he sourced from a local Italian lady who imports it directly. The cheeses were a mixture of French and British, including a nutty wedge of local Dorset Coastal Cheddar, and an excellent French goats cheese that went very well with the balsamic onions.
For me, what made this deli board a cut above the rest were the quality of the nibbly bits, piled high in the centre of the platter. The sundried tomatoes were the most delicious I have tasted, and a burst of sunshine in the mouth, but I have been informed their origin is a closely guarded secret.
The whole experience was just so relaxing and pleasant – I enjoyed another glass of wine, this time a lighter pinot noir, with my deli board, it was the perfect accompaniment.
Other sharing boards on offer include an Antipasto platter with a larger selection of charcuterie, and local cheese selection with five Dorset cheeses, and a vegan mezze board with Hummus, stuffed vine leaves and grilled vegetables.
For dessert, there is just one option on the menu: Italian cannoli. The crispy tubes of pastry are filled with soft ricotta, and ours were flavoured with punchy lemon. This was the perfect ending to a perfectly glorious lunch.