dog friendly restaurants, the dog blog

Three Buoys Restaurant – Isle of Wight

There has been talk on this blog in the past (see Seaview Hotel post), of a legendary event known as ‘The Family Do’. This is an annual event around Christmas time in which we get together with all of Hannah’s (a.k.a my wife, a.k.a ‘En Brogue‘) maternal side of the family (aunties, uncles, cousins, second cousins, friends, maybe a few passers by just swept along for the ride) and eat, drink, and at some point all join in on badly coordinated Greek dancing (Nanny was Greek you see, but I’m not sure traditional Greek dancing is something that is passed down in the genes!). This has now become a tradition that has been going strong for over 40 years … (we really should have mastered the steps to Zorba the Greek by now).

If you’ve read the post on The Seaview Hotel you’ll know that it was the venue for my introduction to The Family Do. You’ll also know that I’m a big fan of the place. But it’s nice to spread the love, and after a few different venues in the ensuing years, this year we opted for The Three Buoys for Grenson’s own introduction to ‘da family’. (Luckily for him he didn’t have to partake in the slippery nipples … don’t ask!).

And what a great venue it was for his first do?

I mean, what’s not to like?

Let’s start with the food and drink.


Firstly they serve ‘Curious Brew‘ on tap! For anyone who hasn’t come across this, it’s an English lager that is re-fermented using Champagne yeast (it’s as luxurious as it sounds!). As for the cocktails? You’ll need half an hour just to choose from their selection of delicious gins. Secondly, the food is simply excellent. Hannah and I had amazing starters of floured calamari with fennel, beetroot and orange vinaigrette; and chicken liver parfait with blackberry, pickled veg salad and toasted garlic croutes, (both can be seen in the picture above). We each had braised beef brisket for our main course and chocolate brownie for dessert, which unfortunately didn’t make it into the photo collage above as we both ate them too quickly!

Now lets move on to the location.


The restaurant is set above a little cafe that sells plastic beach ware and ice creams, but if you ascend the stairs at the side of the building you’ll come to the restaurant with its balcony that takes in the full panoramic view of Appley Beach. You may think that this beach sounds familiar? Well that is because it’s the same beach where The Dell Cafe can be found. Yes, that’s right. At one end of this beach is Dell’s and at the other The Three Buoys. In between you have what feels like endless beach (especially when the tide goes out for a mile twice a day) and if you’re not up for walking on that (or the summer restrictions for dog walking are in place), then you can find Appley Park set back from the beach, behind the row of beach huts. Trust me, I have walked the entire coast of the Island and this is without doubt the best 1km stretch you’re going to find!

No wonder Grenson spent most of his time on the balcony staring out at the beach longingly! “When can we go on there again?!? when can we? when?!?”.


Finally, let’s talk about the atmosphere. Whether you are a couple looking for a romantic meal, a family with kids, a man and a dog, or a giant extended family of (questionable) Greek dancers, the welcome is always warm. The staff, led by husband and wife team Tim and Emma, are knowledgable and ever attentive (we once witnessed one staff member welcome a visiting French couple and wait on them all night whilst speaking fluent French -you don’t often get that kind of service in this country).

The Three Buoys has only been running for a couple of years but with lots of hard work this great team have managed to establish it as one of the top culinary destinations on the  Island. And now of course it also has The Family Do seal of approval!

For Grenson, his first time meeting all of the family was a little tiring, (I felt a bit tired and emotional myself!), but we both look forward to many more return visits to the Three Buoys … as long as The Family Do hasn’t gained us a lifetime ban!!


The Man and the Dog.

cafes for dogs, the dog blog

Dell Cafe – Isle of Wight

For any of you planning on becoming regular readers of this blog, be prepared to become accustomed to frequent posts featuring the Isle of Wight. This is down to the fact that my wife Hannah – a.k.a En Brogue – is a ‘Caulkhead’, (that’s what islanders call themselves…actually I think there are strict rules about its use that may require birth certificates of parents to be produced if you attempt to use it in public, but I’m going with it anyway), so we spend a lot of our time down on ‘The Island’ (and if you want to avoid annoying the locals it’s ‘on the island’ not ‘in the island’, En Brogue can get very irate about that one!).

Christmas this year was Grenson’s first visit to The Island, and also coincided with him finally being allowed out for walks; it is no understatement to say that he thought all of his Christmases had come at once!

I was also pretty happy as it meant that Man About a Dog blog could start reviewing some of the many fine Island establishments that I have grown to love over the twenty years I have been visiting. And this first post features one of my very favourites – The Dell Cafe.


Dell Cafe is located at the end of Appley Beach which, when the tide is out, has a mile-long sandbank that Grenson has decided to claim as his own, judging by the barking he did at every other dog walking there. It is run by a fantastic young couple, Ali and Jason, and their equally young and cool staff. During the winter season it draws dog walkers, cyclists and ramblers from miles around who take a break from the bracing Solent air to refuel on steaming cups of coffee and hot sandwiches. In the summer season it is full all day long with sandy holidaymakers sitting outside soaking up the sun and cooling off with an iced lolly/beer.

Did I also mention that they do a mean breakfast?


On most Sunday afternoons during the summer you’ll find one of the many talented young Island musicians playing a laid back acoustic set outside, making it almost impossible to rouse yourself into heading back to ‘the mainland’. However, my very favourite time of the year is high summer when Dell runs evening tapas nights – dishes I always order include the battered squid that tastes like it’s got KFC coating on it (in a really good way!) and the black pudding with pomegranate. Too many times to count I have droned on at friends about the fact that if we’d travelled for hours on a plane to some trendy Mediterranean hotspot and managed to stumble upon an amazing little cafe such as this, we’d have come home and raved about the place to anyone and everyone that would listen. And yet all it’s taken is a 15 minute catamaran journey from Portsmouth to get to The Dell and soak in spectacular views like this.


So here I am, this is me, back from another lovely trip to Dell Cafe and raving on about it to anyone and everyone who will listen.


The Man and the Dog.