Darsham Nurseries is a work-in-progress by David Keleel and a team of collaborators committed to creating a unique destination. First and foremost it is a plant nursery, from which many parallel endeavours have grown, all sharing a common approach to quality and a simple aesthetic.
The nursery opened in 2007 when David and his partner Willie Williams took over the near-derelict premises.
The transformation was slow going, with seemingly endless hurdles and setbacks but by early 2014, the shop and café were opened.
The next major project was the construction of the potager (ornamental kitchen garden), which now supplies the bulk of the produce that appears on the café menu. The menu changes to reflect whatever is available for harvest in the potager.
The potager was built around the summer house which, although it appears to have been in place for generations, was constructed in 2012 by Charlie Hawkins. Hand built with reclaimed materials and using traditional techniques, it provides a unique small venue, used for private dining as well as for art exhibitions, workshops, tutorials and even for chamber music. Outside the summer house, the porch provides a wonderful vantage point from which to survey the potager and rolling landscape beyond.
For its inaugural year, the chef at Darsham Nurseries Café was James Dodd, whose Modern British small plates gained immediate attention. Taking over in the spring of 2015, Lola Demille maintained this standard whilst introducing Middle-Eastern influences to the menu. From the autumn of 2017, with Nicola Hordern as head chef, the café has continued to garner much praise both on social media and in the national press.