colour and flavour

The Lemon and Rosemary Yard in Elsing, near Dereham, opened in December 2022. Owned by Abbi Saunt and Alex Wrzava, this restaurant and deli is full of colour and character, as well as offering delicious food. Samantha Mattocks headed over to find out more. 

Many nourish readers may recognise Abbi and Alex from their time working in North Norfolk. Now, they have their own restaurant and deli, a vibrant, inviting space with two areas to sit outside and enjoy the sun. 

“For those who know Elsing, this was the old Mermaid Pub,” says Abbi, who is Head Chef while Alex handles Front of House. “From the moment we walked in, we knew this was the place for us. We got the keys last November and spent the next weeks getting the place ready for us, putting the Lemon and Rosemary stamp on it.”

Since December’s launch, Abbi and Alex have found that they are busy from the moment they open their doors at 10am until they close at 3pm. “The Lemon and Rosemary Yard is opposite Elsing Church, and we find that we have walkers and cyclists coming in first thing. Then we have those coming for lunch.”

Open Wednesday to Sunday for full service, and Tuesdays for cakes and coffees, the menu focuses on fresh, seasonal ingredients. “We have a regular menu that changes quarterly,” explains Abbi. “This ranges from our Full Yard Breakfast or homemade granola, fruit compote and honey for breakfast through to lunch. We have our speciality burgers and bagels, plus daily specials. I love seeing what is available that week and creating something special from there.”

When we went, the daily specials were incredibly tempting: Baron Bigod, roast fig, and grilled yellow courgettes salad; Thai grilled graffiti aubergine, spicy rice salad, and pickled pink onion; and Cajun roasted cauliflower steak with mixed leaves, rainbow slaw, and fries. 

Sunday lunches are also available between 12 -3pm. “During winter, we have a Sunday roast every week alongside our normal lunch menu. During summer months, while we open on Sundays, we only offer a roast once a month,” explains Abbi. “We also open for pizza nights, and we have our special Around the World Evenings.”

These evenings allow Abbi and Alex to showcase food from a different part of the world, but Alex warns they get book up very quickly. “We have 60 covers in the restaurant, and we have limited space left for this year’s Around the World nights,” she says. “You’d better be quick if you want to come along!”

In addition, the deli counter is bursting with Italian pastries, including cannoli, plus homemade cheese scones and sausage rolls, and cakes also available. There is also a great drinks menu, with local beers and a range of wines to suit every taste. Their own label coffee is also well worth a try, with their coffee machine, Tiffany, the star of the bar area. 

Outside are two seating areas, including a deck and garden to the rear. “This summer, we will start doing barbecue nights as well,” says Abbi. “We also cater for private parties and have also been booked to host a wedding. 

“There is so much that we want to do with Lemon and Rosemary – we’ve only just begun!”

• Abbi shares her recipe for honey roast figs, chargrilled courgette & Baron Bigod brie
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