The Elderflower | Lymington (UK)

Expectation were set high, but The Elderflower gracefully delivered.
Creative and refined French dishes, with a clear British signature!

And so we returned to The Elderflower. It has been more than 2½ years since we’ve dined here the first time and it actually was the first review I posted. We loved the place, the food and the whole experience. “A true gastronomic experience and well worth a star”, I wrote at the time, so the expectations are high!

The experience begins already with the journey to the restaurant. Driving through the New Forest, with around 5,000 ponies dotted all around the national park. A beautiful sight to see. We even had a little enjoyable traffic jam, when a group of ponies and foals decide to linger a bit in the middle of the road.
Arriving in the quaint harbour town of Lymington, walking along the boats with a view on the quay, onto the cobbled Quay Street to reach The Elderflower.

Husband and wife Du Bourgh opened the restaurant in March 2014, with Yorkshire born Andrew in the kitchen and Française Marjolaine running front of house. Both hospitality veterans, they earned the restaurant a great reputation. Even BBC2 program “Remarkable Places to Eat” paid them a visit last April during an episode on the New Forest, which gave them, well deserved, national exposure.

The Elderflower is open for lunch on Wednesday to Sunday and for dinner on Wednesday to Saturday. They offer a 4, 5 and 7 course Chef’s Tasting Menu. (4 courses at £50, 5 courses at £60 and 7 courses at £70). For lunch only the 4 course menu is offered.

We were lucky to get a table, as The Elderflower is fully booked for lunch and dinner for the rest of the year. But don’t let that stop you to try anyway! We had dinner on a Saturday about a month ago and ordered the 7-course Taste of The Elderflower.


We were welcomed with a complementary glass of champagne. Thank you Marjolaine! Always a great way to start a culinaire evening.

Bread & Butter

Housemade bread with some lovely smoked butter with crispy chicken skin. That butter went in no time, so we had to have seconds!… Delicious!

Sea Bream Tartare

Quality sea bream tartare with some chives, a mouth-pleasing oyster ice cream and asparagus emulsion on top. This dish oozes freshness. loving it!

Shellfish Bisque

No cold fish for Joanne, so she got a shellfish bisque with smoked taramasalata emulsion. The chef’s signature bisque is rich and velvety and a delight for the palate. Saffron in a bisque can be quite overpowering for me, but not here. Well done!

Octopus Carpaccio

Second course for me was octopus carpaccio with red pepper sorbet and sangria marinated watermelon variation. Vibrant red pepper sorbet from pimiento peppers, worked a treat with the octopus. Those watermelon balls soaked in sangria added to the freshness beautifully. Spanish summer on a plate!

Courgette Flower

For Joanne it was courgette flower with chicken and truffle mousse, sweet garlic and caramelized black olive puree. Black olive with caramel is a great find. Love it! A lot of garlic without tasting like a lot of garlic! Very clever dish.

Lobster Tortellini

Lobster tortellini with sauteed Solent lobster and shellfish emulsion. Pasta of the tortellini was made with strained lobster water which not only gave it the colour, but most definitely added to the taste. Granny Smith apple is such a good combination with the lobster. A gorgeous and harmonious pairing of flavours.

Catch of the Day

Halibut with a variation of Isle of White tomato, mussels and smoked haddock velouté. Lovely hint of tarragon in the sauce. Works so nicely with the fish. The broad beans were a bit too al dente to me and the tuile was too small to stay crispy on the plate. A nice dish, but needs a couple of tweaks to meet the standards of the gorgeous prior courses.

BBQ Pork

BBQ pork, pickled mustard seeds, carrot & cumin, shiitake ketchup, smoked potato cloud and hickory pork consommé jus. The description and presentation was better than the eating. Not bad in any way, but it was basically a grilled pork chop with coleslaw. The fat on the pork wasn’t rendered enough and the red onions were quite overpowering. Having said that, the carrot and cumin was delicious as was the shiitake ketchup.
I don’t want to sound too negative as it was a tasty dish and I would love it at a barbecue party, but it just doesn’t belong in this menu as it lets the other dishes down.

Basil Ice-cream

Homemade chocolate cone with basil ice-cream. This was a scrumptious little bite, with the basil ice cream cleansing the palate nicely.

Elderflower & Strawberry Celebration

Elderflower parfait, marinated strawberries, mint sauce, gooseberry cloud with a strawberry jus frais, white chocolate & strawberry doughnut. A magnificent dessert! From the strawberry doughnut with the white chocolate glaze, the strawberry jus frais with the gooseberry foam. And then the plate with the joyful elderflower parfait, the marinated strawberries and the bee pollen giving a surprising edge to the texture and taste. The mint sauce totally made the dish by the way. Delicious!

Minecraft Friandises

Friandises presented in a homemade box, which was painted in Minecraft style. As the Microsoft game is a favorite of the Du Bourgh kids. Matcha madeleine with sea buckthorn jelly, oreo biscuit with white chocolate, fudge with orange zest. Mint chocolate rock with olive oil. All craftily made and tasting great. With the chocolate rock being the clear winner for me!

I love the atmosphere at The Elderflower, which is best described as a classy French bistro. Largely influenced by Marjolaine and her informal, but accurate service. A very pleasant combination, nicely copied by the rest of the staff. Needless to say, you feel right at home from start to finish.

As said in the beginning, the expectation were set high, but The Elderflower gracefully delivered. Creative and refined French dishes, with a clear British signature set the tone of Andrew Du Bourgh repertoire. A Chef with clear credentials and aspirations!

And so we leave The Elderflower, walking on the idyllic cobbled Quay Street in this quaint Georgian town, with the clear promise to return and not to leave it as long as the last time!