The Elderflower | Lymington (UK)

The Elderflower gives you a true gastronomic experience
in the most relaxed atmosphere with fantastic service. Well worth a star to me!

The Elderflower is an award winning restaurant (3 AA Rosettes) that loves cooking for people who love food.  Situated on a cobbled Quay Street in the heart of Lymington (UK), a beautiful Georgian town sited between the New Forest district of Hampshire and the West Solent.

The Elderflower is the realisation of Andrew and Marjolaine Du Bourg’s dream to own and operate their own unique restaurant, expressing their perception of the perfect dining experience. It opened its doors on 7th March 2014, The dining room is an atmospheric space with low beamed ceilings and cosy casement windows. 

Head Chef Andrew Du Bourg was born in Yorkshire, educated in South Africa and Buckinghamshire, England. Andrew trained at Bournemouth & Poole College and the renowned cooking school of the Academy of Culinary Arts. He worked for a number of top London restaurants: Derick Quelch of the Goring Hotel, Chris Galvin of The Wolseley, Phil Howard of The Square and Pascal Aussignac of Club Gascon where he progressed to Head Chef. With a desire to re-locate to the South Coast, Andrew became Head Chef at 5* Chewton Glen hotel.

We went for lunch last Saturday and were welcomed by owner and restaurant manager Marjolaine Du Bourg who brought an informal, comforting atmosphere from start to finish.
Besides the à la carte menu, there are also a 5-course (£55) and 7-course (£65) tasting menu’s. We choose the 7 course tasting menu.

Bread and Butter

We started off with some homemade bread with a very nice crust to it. The butter had some drippings through it to give that extra bit of detail.

The wine list shows a broad selection with a nice international variety and a very reasonable pricing. I was impressed by the selection of open wines, sold by the glass. To start we had a glass of Chateau Carbonneau, Cuvee Margot, Bordeaux, 2017, Sauvignon Blanc (£8.25 for 175 ml). Gorgeous wine that went very well with the first two courses.

Grilled Tiger Prawn

First course was a flame grilled tiger prawn with black eyed beans, bok choy, baby corn and pork consommé. The smokiness of the prawn worked really well with the deep flavours of the consommé.

Bouquet of Flowers

Next was a Bouquet of Flowers, with fennel cream, grape and verjus jelly, pickled turnip & beetroot. A very pretty dish. An ingenious balance between the acidity of the turnip and beetroot, the tartness of the jelly together with the creamy fennel.

Grilled Baby Artichokes

The artichokes were accompanied by barigoule vegetables, sweet garlic puree and a slow cooked egg yolk. Bourigoule is the old French method of curing and cooking vegetables to preserve them, similar to pickled vegetables. The silky slow cooked egg yolk was lovely by itself. Together with the acidity of the vegetables it worked really well with the artichokes. The sweet garlic puree complemented the dish nicely. I had a small woody bit of artichoke, but that is forgiven. A fantastic dish.

Skate Wing Meuniere

Pan fried Skate wing, with cauliflower puree, Romanesco, purple cauliflower, salsify, liquorice sauce and blood orange beurre blanc. The skate was just done, a little bit under for some. A lot going on in this dish, maybe a bit too much even. Liquorice and blood orange delivered very well against the fish and cauliflower puree. Yet another very enjoyable dish.

Duck Celebration

Barbary duck breast, confit leg, mallard duck ham, nasturtium puree, saffron apple, pear and plum & chocolate sauce. The seared duck was a bit tough to start. It was nicely cooked pink, but needed to rest a bit longer. Confit of the duck leg was a bit under seasoned which made it a bit dull. The saffron apple made up for the under seasoning when eating together with the confit, but still. This dish needs a bit of work.

Homemade Clementine Sorbet

Clementine sorbet, with rum marinated fruits and homemade honeycomb. The sorbet was refreshing and a nice palate cleanser. The rum marinated currants made it a real comforting little winter dish. Clever!

Rhubarb & Custard

Tangy rhubarb, with vanilla crème patissiere, white chocolate crunch and rhubarb and stem ginger sorbet. The rhubarb was impossible to cut with a fork and spoon and really needed a knife and the crème patissiere was way too stodgy. But the flavours blended perfectly, lovely crunch of the white chocolate caramel and the stem ginger give that bit of comforting heat. Lovely and pleasing dessert.

Signed menu

When Marjolaine Du Bourg saw me taking notes during dinner, she immediately offered to give a printed copy of the menu. Which she brought when we were having coffee. signed by the chef. Nice touch and totally in line with the comforting hospitality.

The Elderflower gives you a true gastronomic experience in the most relaxed atmosphere with fantastic service. Andrew Du Bourg’s style of cooking is inventive and well executed. Contemporary food using quality ingredients, elegantly presented, that delivers on flavour. 
There is no doubt that a Michelin star will be forthcoming and, with time, it may not be limited to that.