Firstly, don’t let my headline deceive you. This is not a roadside cafe, far from it. This little gem is a licensed Café that has been widely praised in the national press. It’s in the unsuspecting location of Darsham in Suffolk, en route to the delights of Southwold, Orford and Aldeburgh. It offers a relaxed, sociable atmosphere in a light, airy dining room and has an absurdly pretty outdoor terrace.
I first heard about their food when I was pregnant and have only just managed to head there recently on a toddler-free day; it’s the best sort of place to head to with friends or a loved one. There was such a convivial atmosphere; I felt as though I was in a bustling London eatery surrounded by fragrant potted plants and herbs. (Told you, potty and posh.)
I loved the built-in single-flower vases on this group dining bench and the nettle-green enamel lampshades that gently hovered over diner’s heads like lights over seedlings.
Throughout the year Darsham Nurseries grow their own fruit, herbs and vegetables literally a stone’s throw in their kitchen garden and customers can amble through the gardens to see where many of the menu ingredients are grown.
Their talented Chef Lola Demille, creates gorgeous dishes designed to complement each other, allowing you to experience a range of tastes and flavours. The menu is a modern approach to fresh, veg-led dishes often with a Middle-Eastern twist.
They encourage you to order a few dishes each and share. We devoured a few sharing platters, not all pictured here, including:
- Jersey royals, aioli (£4) – Enough to serve four. Aioli to die for!
- Charred asparagus, goat curd & dukkah (£8.50) Fresh & crunchy. The creamiest curd
- Roman gnocchi, braised greens, pecorino (£7) – Comfort food at it’s finest!
- Pan fried monk’s beard with crispy capers (£9) – A tart and light contrast to the rest
- Pump St Sourdough bread (£3) – Chewy, sour and salty – some of the best out there
Produce is provided by local suppliers and their menu changes to reflect seasonal availability. The sample menu I papp’d below will give you a good idea of what they offer, although the dishes change regularly.
The Café opens daily for breakfast, lunch and afternoon service, with a brunch menu served on Sundays.
Outdoor dining is available when the weather permits and private dining is available in their picturesque summerhouse.
Local Produce in a Glass
One of my favourite things about their menu is that they serve the most edible sounding cocktails and there are a host of wines are available by the glass. The cafe also serves beers from Adnams Brewery & Aspall Ciders, both of which are local suppliers. They also have a range of soft drinks including Breckland Orchard Posh Pops.
For reservations call 01728 667022.
NEARBY SHOPPING GEM:
Make sure you head over the road to Darsham’s Retro Shop! Just next door to Darsham Train station. This place sells lots of reclaimed jewels in its front and back yard and inside is a Pandora’s trinket box of crockery and jewellery delights. There’s also a selection of second-hand, mainly vintage, clothes. Found two stunning tops each less than a tenner, worth ten times this amount. My other half, a draftsman and designer, found a beautiful antique compass from the turn of the century for £3. Vintage lovers, look no further!