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Fern Dining Room
Eat and Drink
June 2021
Reading time 10 minutes

The North East is piled high with great eateries, but there are some which stand out for many different reasons

Here’s our pick of the region’s top tables.
Restaurant Hjem

Restaurant Hjem

The Hadrian Hotel, Wall, Hexham NE46 4EE

01434 681232 

restauranthjem.co.uk 

Michelin-starred Hjem, in the heart of Hadrian’s Wall Country, have attracted food lovers from all over the North East (as well as the attention of critics nationwide) thanks to their exquisite tasting menu and unique atmosphere – with a touch of Scandinavian flair – and now their well-deserved Michelin star for 2021. Tucked away within the popular Hadrian pub at Wall, the 24-seater restaurant with its open kitchen offers a tasting menu of 15–18 courses, created from ingredients sourced from the surrounding farms and gardens of Northumberland. 

Restaurant Pine

Restaurant Pine

Vallum Farm, Military Road, East Wallhouses, NE18 0LL

01434 671202

restaurantpine.co.uk

Offering a modern, yet refined take on the classic three-tiered afternoon tea, Restaurant Pine overlooks beautiful Northumberland landscapes alongside Hadrian’s Wall. The restaurant is the debut of Northumberland born Cal Byerley, and partner Siân Buchan, and is set in an old cow barn, with an intimate atmosphere. Enjoy a generous tasting menu in the evening, using foraged ingredients from the surrounding countryside, and admire the team of dedicated chefs preparing your meals in the bespoke open kitchen. Look out for the wine flight, carefully designed by the restaurants very own sommelier.

Blackfriars

Blackfriars

Friars Street, Newcastle NE1 4XN

0191 261 5945

blackfriarsrestaurant.co.uk

At Blackfriars, British cuisine is served at heavy wooden tables in the former refectory of a friary (it’s believed to be the oldest dining room in the UK). On the menu, you’ll find traditional dishes, using produce from local farms and producers, but you must try their award-winning set and à la carte menus which change regularly to make the most of seasonal produce.

21

21

Trinity Gardens, Newcastle NE1 2HH

0191 222 0755

21newcastle.co.uk

In the heart of Newcastle’s Quayside, the iconic 21 is a city centre restaurant with a friendly buzz. Under the ever-watchful eye of Terry Laybourne, you can expect warm, generous hospitality and consistently skilful cooking here. The à la carte menu boasts the Northumbrian and Cumbrian produce we all love, including roe deer and Lindisfarne oysters, with an extensive wine list to accompany.

1910 Steak & Seafood

1910 Steak & Seafood

Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG

0191 691 7090

spanishcity.co.uk

Within the iconic Spanish City, 1910 has reopened with a brand new menu – although the stunning sea views of the striking Whitley Bay coastline remain the same. As the name implies, 1910 specialises in spectacular steak and seafood dishes; Lindisfarne oysters have their own section on the menu here (Thermidor, Bloody Mary, Mignonette and Panko Fried), but we’ve got our eye on the Moroccan spiced aubergine and summer squash tagine (oh, and the steak, of course). Share the famous Chateaubriand served with hand cut chips, slow roasted tomato, portobello mushroom and your choice of two sauces, and linger over the unbelievably delicious chocolate, peanut and salted caramel sphere, served with ice cream and hot chocolate sauce. (You might need a stroll along the seafront to work some of that off before bed!).

Hibou Blanc

Hibou Blanc

High Bridge Street, Newcastle NE1 1EN

0191 261 8000

hiboublanc.co.uk

Hibou Blanc sits within Sunlight Chambers, which was built on the corner of the Bigg Market and High Bridge Street in 1902. Outside, this quirky building has a remarkable mosaic, and the inside is every bit as beautiful, oozing old-school style and glamour. The menu is locally-driven and flavour-led, and the talented chefs here utilise the best of British seasonal produce to create classic dishes with an impressive range of flavour. Sundays here are legendary – enjoy a long, lazy afternoon with a delicious Sunday roast and fine wine on Hibou Blanc’s brand new outdoor terrace, or head indoors for a cleverly crafted cocktail (or two) at the stunning bar.

The Orangery at Rockliffe Hall

The Orangery at Rockliffe Hall

Rockliffe Hall Hotel, Golf & Spa, Hurworth on Tees, Darlington DL2 2DU

01325 729999

rockliffehall.com

Dinner in Rockliffe Hall’s flagship 3AA Rosette Orangery restaurant is always memorable. The chefs here know how to do fine dining at its best. With cocktails created by expert mixologists, and a wine list featuring more than 400 exceptional examples from around the world, there’s plenty to tempt you. The Orangery’s à la carte and tasting menus have been developed to make the best use of the highest quality seasonal and regional produce, some foraged from Rockliffe Hall’s own 365-acre estate.

House of Tides

House of Tides

28–30 The Close, Quayside, Newcastle NE1 3RF

0191 230 3720

houseoftides.co.uk

Newcastle’s only Michelin-starred restaurant is set in a beautifully-restored Grade-I listed former merchant’s house, where Chef Patron Kenny Atkinson has created an unbeatable experience – producing thoughtful, precise and elegant food with an emphasis on natural, seasonal and sustainable produce (we’ll have the salt aged beef and onion tart, please), on a 10-course set menu. The wine list is an extension of the ethos of the restaurant too, and reflects the tastes and passion of the people that worked to put it together.

Audela

Audela

64 Bridge Street, Berwick TD15 1AQ

01289 308827

audela.co.uk

Craig and Sarah opened Audela (named after the last boat to leave the local shipyard) in 2012, and in 2017 moved into their current place, the former Cowes Building on Berwick’s Bridge Street. It’s all about contemporary British cuisine here, and with a real passion for cooking, they use only the finest seasonal produce – sourced daily from their suppliers across Northumberland and the Scottish Borders – to create new and different dishes. Expect to find wild Borders rabbit and Berwick crab on the menu at Berwick’s best dining spot.

Peace & Loaf

Peace & Loaf

217 Jesmond Road, Jesmond NE2 1LA

0191 281 5222

peaceandloaf.co.uk

Part owned by head chef Dave Coulson, care and attention goes into the meticulously-crafted menu here, which is filled with new takes on classic dishes which change regularly. From the tasting menus, you can expect caramelised apple smoked haddock, caviar cauliflower and salted caramel tart to enjoy in the fun and friendly surroundings of Jesmond’s long-standing favourite.

The Raby Hunt

The Raby Hunt

Summerhouse, Darlington DL2 3UD

01325 374237

rabyhuntrestaurant.co.uk

The Raby Hunt is a two Michelin-star restaurant (actually the North East’s first two Michelin-star restaurant) in the small village of Summerhouse. Selftaught head chef James Close is passionate about food – a true talent within the North East food scene. Definitely one to try when you can, his restaurant serves a 15-course tasting menu – book a seat at the Kitchen Table for a front row seat, and enjoy a variety of unusual signature dishes.

Fern at Jesmond Dene House

Fern at Jesmond Dene House

Jesmond Dene Road, Newcastle NE2 2EY

0191 212 3000

jesmonddenehouse.co.uk

Fern is a new neighbourhood dining room and bar, boasting contemporary food prepared with love, care and attention under the watchful eye of Danny Parker. Expect informal Geordie hospitality, along with memorable dishes. Executive head chef Danny, a finalist on MasterChef The Professionals, takes inspiration from both classic and modern cookery techniques and their relationships with their suppliers are key to Fern’s success. Choose from dishes such as garden pea soup, pork Milanese, braised beef, and classic treacle tart. You can read more about Danny’s hopes for Fern at livingnorth.com.

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