It bills itself as a cheese and wine restaurant but Renoufs in Westbourne is much more of a social experience.

With its dark, handmade wooden tables and chairs, gentle jazz music and cosy feel, the venue, which opened in Poole Road in May, offers a friendly welcome, with a real focus on interaction.

Diners can choose from more than 50 wines and 22 cheeses, as well as a broad selection of meats, to make up their own, bespoke sharing boards.

The level of choice is overwhelming. But that, explains director Trevor Ayling, is part of the Renoufs experience.

"It gives us a chance to interact with the customers and go through everything that we do - the food, the drinks and so on.

"They can choose any four cheeses for a four-cheese platter. They come out with bread which is home-baked from next door and with pickles and fruits and crackers.

"The same for charcuterie - you can select any four meats. Then we get to the sharers. We have a three and three, they get three cheeses and three meats and all the condiments, then we do a five and five, that's normally for a table of four people."

In addition, customers can order from the giant Ploughman's board, which features giant, award-winning pork pies served with a slab of cheddar, or from the meze board, or a selection of nibbles boards.

"Then we move onto the wines," says Trevor, who ran a limousine business for 15 years before opening Renoufs.

"We have over 50 wines on offer. I think we are the only place in the area to offer 32 wines by the glass. Then we have nine different "wine flights".

"They come on a board with three glasses of wine, they're 50ml measures, that's just short of a medium sized glass. The idea is it gets you trying different wines. We try and pair the food with the wines and it really enhances the flavours of both."

The eaterie, which is open from 5pm Monday to Thursday and all day Friday and Saturday, also offers a range of boutique beers and, following in the footsteps of the building's previous occupier, quality coffees.

"We cater for up to 60 people and we are turning people away, which we hate, but people take a card and they will book," says Trevor.

"We've got five out of five on Trip Advisor and we've won awards with the Open Table already for best restaurant for this and that.

"I've learned so much about cheese and wine. I love so many cheeses and I was a big red wine buff, but now I've got that knowledge it's enhanced the flavours.

"I really, really love it."

(BLOB) Renoufs is hosting a port tasting evening at the end of November. To find out more, visit or call Trevor Ayling on 07440 111131.