I first visited Lemana Café in Lymington in November 2013. Since then, it’s been a semi-regular feature of my annual trips to the area and I’ve watched it grow with interest. There was a rebrand in 2015, when it became Lemana Coffee & Kitchen, switching over to serve Has Bean coffee, but still retaining its roots as a lovely, friendly, family-run café with great food. Over the years I’ve also kept touch with various family members on social media, so it was something of a surprise when, in May this year, I learnt that Lemana had changed hands.
The good news is that Lemana Coffee & Kitchen had been taken over as a going concern, but would the new owner, Cathryn, want to change things? It was therefore with some trepidation that, last Friday, I ventured over to Lymington on my annual visit to see what had become of Lemana…
You can see what I found after the gallery.
The good news is that not much had changed, while what had changed was for the better. The essential layout is the same, with the counter at one end (to your right as you enter) and the seating at the other. The outside seating is still there, but now it’s under the shelter of a plastic gazebo-type structure.
Although I say that little has changed, when I looked at my photos from my first visit in 2013, the décor was actually quite different. Back then it was painted in bright, primary colours, with an eclectic mix of tables of various shapes and sizes. Now the colours are more subdued, and the furniture more uniform, laid out in neat rows. Dare I say it, the new look gives it more of a feel of a speciality coffee shop.
Of course, I can’t tell if this is due to the change of ownership or just a gradual change over the years. The most important thing, however, is that you still get the warm, friendly welcome, and while the décor has changed, the original atmosphere, which was so much a part of Lemana, is still there, maintained by Cathryn and her staff. This includes Lesley, the manager, and baristas Jass and Oli, all of whom (except Cathryn) I met during my visit.
Food was always Lemana’s strong point, particularly the homemade cakes, and this has continued under the new ownership. There are separate breakfast (until midday) and lunch (from midday until 3:30) menus, with all the food prepared on-site in the kitchen behind the counter. Even better, the excellent cake selection (also all baked on-site) is still there, while there is a range of alcohol which I don’t recall from my previous visits.
However, the biggest change, for me, is with the coffee, Lemana switching to local roaster, Coffee Monger’s Roasting Company, which I visited the following Monday following a tip-off from Jass that it had a small café inside. There is a bespoke blend on espresso, while in the last month or so, Lemana has introduced single-origin filter coffee, with a choice of two beans (an El Salvador and a Rwanda while I was there) through either V60 or Aeropress.
Naturally I had to try the pour-over, selecting the Rwanda as a V60. This was served in a glass cafetiere inner, with a glass/saucer on the side. The coffee had a very clean, clear colour in the carafe and this came across as I drank it, with some lovely, subtle fruity flavours coming through.
In many ways, Lemana was always going to be a hard act to follow, so congratulations to Cathryn and her team, who have preserved the best of the old Lemana and built on it. I look forward to seeing what else they have done when I’m back in Lymington this time next year!
There’s a full write-up of the new Lemana Coffee & Kitchen, including a complete gallery, in its main entry. You can see what I made of Lemana Café on my first visit by reading the original Coffee Spot post, while you can see what changed when I visited in 2015 in my Coffee Spot Update.
|24B HIGH STREET • LYMINGTON • SO41 9AD|
|www.lemana.co.uk||+44 (0) 1590 675535|
|Monday||CLOSED||Roaster||Coffee Monger’s (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||08:30 – 16:00||Seating||Tables, Tables outside|
|Wednesday||08:30 – 16:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||08:30 – 16:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:30 – 16:00||Cards||Amex, Visa, Mastercard|
|Saturday||08:30 – 16:00||Wifi||Free|
|Sunday||10:30 – 15:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||No||Visits||21st November 2013, 19th November 2015|
|23rd November 2018|
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