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Harriet Mansell to open natural wine bar Lilac in Lyme Regis

Chef Harriet Mansell is to open a 40-cover minimum intervention wine bar and tap room called Lilac in Lyme Regis this summer, marking her second venture in Dorset.

Due to open in July, Lilac will specialise in low-intervention wines and small plates, echoing the ethos of Mansell’s debut Dorset restaurant, Robin Wylde, which opened last October, shining a light on West Country produce via a 12-course tasting menu.

Opening within a 400-year-old cellar space on Broad Street, Lilac will offer a selection of wines sourced from small-scale Dorset vineyards, including Furleigh Estate, Sharpham, Castlewood, Dunleavy and Limeburn Hill.

The bar will also be serving an English fizz in keg from Langham Winery in Dorchester, which the estate’s winemaker has billed as England’s first ‘col fondo’.

Lilac will serve a range of small parcel wines from around the world, alongside beers, ciders, meads, soft drinks and coffee, and a range of canned wines to take away.

A continuously changing menu of seasonal small plates will accompany the drinks, with a focus on vegetables, zero waste and sustainability.

Among the dishes on the debut menu will be: tempura sea vegetables with smoked roe, elderflower and mint; mackerel crudo with watercress oil and pine vinegar; and wood-fired lobster with strawberry, rose and verbena.

Freshly baked breads with house charcuterie and cheeses will also be on the menu. Wherever possible, Mansell will use surplus ingredients from Robin Wylde in Lilac’s dishes to minimise food waste.

The interiors have a colour palette of “neutral tones interspersed with earthy, natural materials and low-lighting”, with dried flowers from the West County “bringing the outside in”.

“Lilac has been a long time in the planning, and with the lifting of lockdown restrictions and a general sense of optimism in the air, now feels like the perfect time to bring something completely new to Lyme Regis.

“The name Lilac not only evokes those hopeful connotations of springtime, but we like to think of it a special sort of atmosphere that comes when heading into an evening; that feeling when you know something good is about to happen,” Mansell said.

“We are looking forward to growing the Robin Wylde family and to continue sharing in the incredible produce our local winemakers, growers, fishermen and farmers work tirelessly to produce all year round,” she added.

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