Restaurant Hjem & The Hadrian Hotel Review

 This post is based on our visit in June 2021. Please visit the venue's website and social media for the most up-to-date information when making plans. 

Restaurant Hjem & The Hadrian Hotel Review

Restaurant Hjem was awared a Michelin star and included in the 2021 (& 2022) Michelin Guide. They are the first restaurant in Northumberland to receive a coveted star (now joined with Restaurant Pine). This is huge news for our region and while I don't always agree that the best food can be found in Michelin starred restaurants, they generally do provide an unforgettable experience so it seemed like the perfect place for me to book as a special treat for Steve's 40th birthday. 

Restaurant Hjem & The Hadrian Hotel Review

Reservations open on a quarterly basis for the 3 months ahead, sign up to their mailing list here and closely follow their social media for announcements for when their next set of reservations will open. It is one of those places that gets booked up pretty much straight away (there are only 24 covers) so you need to be quick! We opted for a midweek reservation as I figured they would be slightly easier to come by. At the moment, the restaurant is open Wednesday-Sunday for reservations from 7pm. 

Restaurant Hjem is part of the Hadrian Hotel in Wall near Hexham. It is kind of in the middle of nowhere in Hadrian's Wall County so many people, like us, will probably opt to stay over. 

There are only 11 rooms though so again, you need to reserve at the same time as your dinner reservation. This can easily be done together at the same time. 

It looks like the rooms have been refurbished since we stayed. They are what I'd describe as comfortable rather than luxury. You are coming here for the food, not to stay in your bedroom. The quality is reflected in the price though and we only paid £120 for two including breakfast to stay over (obviously not including dinner) and for a hotel with a Michelin star restaurant attached, this is fantastic value. I doubt you'd find a cheaper rate in the UK. 

The hotel has a nice garden to the rear, private parking and a welcoming bar. The rooms offer lovely countryside views and a bus stops right outside if you wish to travel by public transport (Tynedale Links 680). Hexham Train Station is 4 miles away and there is a list of recommended taxi services on the Restaurant Hjem website or the restaurant can organise a car for you.

The last train to Newcastle from Hexham is around 11:40pm which gives you more than enough time to enjoy your meal if returning by train but obviously check timetables yourself when making plans. 

Restaurant Hjem & The Hadrian Hotel Review  - beer garden

Like I say, the bedrooms are comfortable rather than functional and going by the photos and info on their website, I think they have been refurbished and updated since we visited. 

The Hadrian Hotel website is actually not working at the moment but I have emailed them and can confirm that there are dog friendly bedrooms available (although dogs are not permitted in Restaurant Hjem). 

Bedrooms come with free WiFi, a coffee machine, TV, mirror, tea tray, towels and toiletries. 

Restaurant Hjem & The Hadrian Hotel Review  - bathroom

View from our window

Now onto the food.......

Restaurant Hjem & The Hadrian Hotel Review  - tasting menu

Above is a sample menu. It's not cheap at £120 per person and I am not here to judge how people spend their money. Speaking personally, I don't mind spending this on a special 40th birthday meal and for me, it was 100% worth the spend. In terms of pricing when in comes to Michelin star taster menus, this menu is actually at the cheaper end of the scale. 

(Tip - click on the menu photo to zoom in if needed )

In comparison, Raby Hunt in Darlington (which does hold two stars) is £245 per person and House of Tides is £110 per person (with a reduced number of courses). 

I don't spend this kind of money on dining out all of the time and would not make it a regular thing but for us, as a special occasion treat, it was so worth it and when we next have a very special occasion coming up, I am sure I will book again. 

Everyone has to dine from the set taster menu - there is no a la carte option. 

I know people will mention the tiny portions but that is often the nature of Michelin dining. It's more flavour and presentation, less all you can eat buffet. I have to say though, after 18 courses, I politely declined the offer of a second round of Fika. I was done! There is only so much fine dining one person can enjoy in one evening and I was definitely satisfied / not left wanting to order a takeaway. 

I have been lucky enough to dine in a fair few Michelin / top restaurants in my time and I can hand on heart say that Restaurant Hjem is my favourite of them all. 

This is of course personal preference but I love the informal style of Restaurant Hjem. It very much feels like you are sitting in a friendly neighbourhood (albeit one that serves the best food and has incredible service). It doesn't feel overly fancy or OTT with pomp and ceremony and has a perfect ambience for people who are looking for a special meal but still want to be able to have a proper chat with their fellow diners and not feel out of place. 

Even the music they played is not what you'd expect - I'm sure there was an 80s and 90s playlist playing during our meal. It all adds to the informal atmosphere. 

Everyone is welcome at Restaurant Hjem, including kids. They will have to dine from the main menu though. 

Restaurant Hjem & The Hadrian Hotel Review - dining room

Husband and wife team Head Chef Alex Nietosvuori & Restaurant Manager Ally Thomspon and their team go out of their way to make every single guest feel included and welcome. The dining area is split into two rooms - one with the main kitchen where you can watch the chefs in action and a second room with a chef's station where again, you can watch the chefs at work. 

At some point in the evening you will probably be served by every team member, including the chefs themselves and it is a brilliant way to blur the lines between kitchen and restaurant and ask questions. You can see how proud the chefs are of their dishes too. 

You aren't given a menu until the very end of your meal so each dish is a complete surprise. The staff do check for dietery requirements and will do their best to accommodate. You do need to go into this experience with an open mind and a willingness to try every dish to make the most of it. I would not recommend this restaurant if you're a fussy eater. 

If you follow a vegetarian or pescetarian diet or have any dietery requirements/allergies, if you let the team know in advance, they can advise and will do their best to ensure you have an incredible experience. 

Your evening at Restaurant Hjem is more than a meal out, it's a full experience. Being able to watch precision chefs at work, hear the buzz of the kitchen and chat with the staff who are super passionate about what they do here really makes the evening special. You can expect the dining experience to last 3-3.5 hours including coffee. 

The menu changes with the seasons so there are no spoilers in this post and ingredients are carefully sourced from farms and gardens in Northumberland. Local suppliers/ ingredients include fresh eggs from Jeff Hogg in Wall (cannot get closer than that), vegetables from Ken Holland (Little Harle), pork and dairy from North Acomb Farm and lamb from Newbrough. You can read more about suppliers here. 

You can choose to add a wine flight (£95) or soft drink flight (£50) to your meal if you wish, or of course there is a cracking wine list/choice of non-alcoholic beverages on offer too. We of course decided to go all out and went with the wine flight.

All wines/drinks have been carefully selected by head sommelier Anna Frost with particular care taken to choose wine from producers who respect the environment and use minimum interventions in the process.

I really enjoyed the wines here and they were probably all options I would never have chosen myself. They even went off-piste and brought out their own home brewed lager (which was a little lockdown project) with their bread course which again, I'd never have expected. 

There is a lot of snobbery around wine but again, it's not like that at all here. The staff are not condescening at all and it is pretty much the only restaurant I've been in where they will actively top your glass up at no additional charge if they see you running a little dry. Steve managed a few cheeky top up but honestly I was slow going and think I had 3 wines lined up at one point. They certainly don't scrimp here and are very generous with everything. 

The food here is cooked using precision Scandinavian techniques with Northumberland ingredients. Alex has worked with the best including ex-Noma sous chefs Sam Nutter and Victor Wagman where he was head chef at their nose-to-tail restaurant, Bror. The dishes are sometimes bitesize and sometimes more substantial and like I say, what will be brought to your table next is always a surprise. 

Don't worry, the team will always let you know what you are about to tuck into as they serve you and you can ask questions too. Don't be scared to ask what something is if you're not sure. The team will happily oblige and there are no silly questions. 

I would really struggle to pick a favourite dish - they were all fantastic. Every single dish is beautifully presented and packed with interesting flavours & cooking techniques.

The food just keeps coming throughout the evening. You are never rushed and the time between courses is just right. Each dish always leaves you anticipating the next / wondering what to expect. 

The presentation is so fresh and clean and every dish is like a perfect painting, almost too good to eat. 

Restaurant Hjem & The Hadrian Hotel Review  - Hjem lager

At the end of the night, the chefs all stand in a line as you leave and it's nice to be able to say thank you for what will be one of the best meals of your life in person. 

As we left the restaurant, Ally gave us a bottle of water to take to bed with us. I wonder if she sensed I would need it after one too many wines?  What a night though. 

This box of Fika below was all for us! What a way to end the meal. 

Breakfast is served in the bar/pub the following morning. It's a cozy spot and I wouldn't mind popping in here for a drink next time we are in the area. 

Sam being Sam though, as predicted I had over-indulged in too much wine and couldn't face anything. I will never learn. Steve tucked in though and it was a brilliant breakfast. 

Restaurant Hjem & The Hadrian Hotel Review  - breakfast

Restaurant Hjem & The Hadrian Hotel Review  - breakfast menu

Shortly after we checked out and popped to the Temple of Mithras which is nearby and a Hadrian's Wall site I have wanted to see for ages. The short walk soon sorted me out. 

If you are looking for a special occasion restaurant, Restaurant Hjem is somewhere you must try if your budget allows. They also offer gift vouchers if you are looking to surprise someone with a very special gift. 

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1 comment

  1. Just a shame Raby Hunt has now closed and up for sale


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