The Great Dining Bus, Milford on Sea, 21/25

The Great Dining Bus 21/25 bus

Milford on Sea




Dietary needs: Contact to advise

Parking: Local car parks

Wheelchairs: Need to enquire

Loos: Above average LWL Gold Award – Awarded September 2013 – Cost £37.50 per head

Last Saturday SM and I enjoyed a very different lunching experience… we went on’t coach trip!  Well we were actually passengers on The Great Dining Bus an idea that evolved during the planning of Milford on Sea Food Week (not long until the next one in April 2014).The idea of the bus is that you get to sample 4 excellent Milford on Sea restaurants in the company of, hopefully, like minded people. We were very lucky with our fellow diners (12 of us in total), we met some lovely people and made new friends, in particular Elaine who runs Up Cycle Lane (original up-cycled furniture pieces using retro and vintage finds). Turns out we follow each other on Twitter (@theladiesuk & UpCycleLane); exciting to actually meet a fellow Tweeter!

Our lunch started at1.0pm at the fabulous Verviene. There was a table of 12 ready for us, it looked beautiful with Chef/Patron David Wykes’s unique canapés ready for us to share. There were 2 beautiful rocks sourced from the local beach; on it were pieces of home smoked bass to eat in our fingers, a sardine tin containing cantaloupe melon, Lymington lobster and fizzy grapes, crackling pigs cheeks served with pear and mead ketchup, mackerel pate in a little flower pot covered with edible soil and planted with radishes and David’s version of pork scratchings, the pork skin is dehydrated for three days then scraped then deep fried so you’ve only got the skin with no fat…. very light and fluffy so obviously no calories! We were served a white wine spritzer mixed with elderflower rather than soda, very refreshing.

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The bus collected us at 1.30pm and drove us to our next destination The Raft. Love the décor in here, it has a very relaxed ambiance, appropriate as most of us separated from who we had come with to sit and chat to new friends around the table. We were given a choice of either a chicken or a mackerel tortilla. I chose chicken, it was delicious and a very substantial portion for a starter. Here we were offered the choice of a white wine sangria or iced tea to drink. SM was very impressed with the wonderful home made pizzas she enjoyed on her last visit here.

Even though the bus did arrive to take us over the road to La Perle we opted to walk as it really was such a short distance! La Perle is a very pretty French bistro and as Lionel, Chef/Patron and his lovely wife Emily are still offering their £10 Lunch prix fixe menu which includes 1 course and a drink or a small glass of wine was not surprised to hear they have had a very busy summer. We ate, on 2 tables this time, a beautifully presented dish, quenelle of lemon sole, crab bisque, courgette purée, confit tomato and tiger prawns and we drank a Languedoc Sauvignon Blanc.

We had an hour at La Perle, the bus collected us as 3.15 to take us to The Marine for our pudding.  . It’s a wonderful Art Deco building almost on the beach. The upstairs fine dining restaurant, where we were seated, has fabulous views over to the Isle of Wight and there’s a café/ bistro/ bar downstairs. Our dessert was a large Milford Mess, the Marine’s version of Eton mess and we were served tea or coffee.

Promptly at 4.0pm the bus collected us and dropped us all back to the car park near to Verviene. It was sad to say goodbye, a fine time had been had by all. Interesting conversations and some delicious food, the perfect lunchtime combination!

As it says on their website “The Great Dining Bus is perfect as a treat, a gift, for spending time with friends, special celebrations, anniversaries, birthdays, or just a great excuse to experience a unique dining experience whilst enjoying great food in excellent restaurants.” It does what it says on the tin and comes highly recommended! Cost £37.50 per head

Please help to spread the word by telling any restaurants you visit that you tried them because you were recommended by LWL in Hampshire… Thank you!

Ladies Who Lunch Scoring:

Quality of food 4/5
Variety of menu 4/5
Staff and service 4/5
Fun experience! 5/5
Value for Money 4/5


Total Yummy Factor


Report: CJ

5/5 = Cannot be improved upon, 4/5 = Very good, 3/5 = Good,
2/5 = Satisfactory, 1/5 = Poor, 0/5 = Terrible

The higher the “Yummy” factor, the better the food & service. The higher the number of £ signs the more expensive. (Roughly one £ sign = £5 per head)