Lemana, in Lymington, just outside the New Forest, has been a favourite of mine since my first visit in November 2013. A friendly, family-run, community-based café in a small town, it had excellent food and outstanding cakes, plus one of the warmest welcomes you’ll find. The only thing I didn’t rave about was the coffee.
However, when I heard on twitter that Lemana had started serving coffee from Staffordshire legends, Has Bean, my ears perked up. A return visit was quickly pencilled in as part of my annual trip to Naish, just along the coast from Lymington (which, contrary to my initial belief, is in Hampshire, not Dorset).
The switch to Has Bean is the most obvious of the changes, which have included taking a range of loose-leaf tea from Dorchester’s Gilded Teapot. Fortunately the warm welcome, excellent food and outstanding cakes remain, while other changes have been more subtle.
Lemana Café is a lovely place, tucked off in the High Street in Lymington, on the southern edge of the New Forest. It’s a place I’ve been aware of for a while, but never had the chance to visit, even though I go down that way once year on my way to Christchurch. However, I always go down the A35, by-passing Lymington, but this time I decided to take the detour down the A337 and was very glad that I did (if you are travelling by train, Lymington has its own branch-line down from Brockenhurst on the Bournemouth line).
A family-run affair, with mum, dad and six siblings all playing a part, Lemana Café is the sort of place that every town should have. The food is lovely, the homemade cakes are even better and the coffee’s pretty good too. Don’t come here expecting the latest third-wave single-origin espresso or a fancy pour-over though (although the staff will happily rustle up a ristretto, macchiato or flat white if you want). Do come here for a warm, friendly welcome in lovely surroundings, with great food and excellent cake.
November 2015: Lemana has upped its coffee game since my visit in 2013, switching roaster to Has Bean. There have also been changes on the tea front, with Dorchester’s Gilded Teapot providing a range of loose-leaf teas. You can see what else has changed in the Coffee Spot Update.