A new restaurant with big ambitions is promising to delight and ignite the palettes of fine diners in the Tyne Valley.
Opening on May 1st 2019, Restaurant Hjem (pronounced ‘yem’) will see the best produce from Northumberland come together with Scandinavian values and cooking techniques to offer a menu of beautiful and innovative dishes.
Attached to popular pub, The Hadrian at Wall, the 24-cover restaurant, which boasts a stunning open kitchen, will bring the flavours and style of Scandinavia to the Tyne Valley with an ambitious tasting menu people will want to travel for.
Those with a hunger for unique and memorable gastronomic experiences will be making the journey to Restaurant Hjem, where exciting tasting menus, filled with the very best local produce, will be waiting to excite them.
Hjem is the dream project of Swedish chef Alex Nietosvuori and his partner, Northumberland-born Ally Thompson, who have created a destination restaurant in the heart of Hadrian’s Wall country, which represents the very best of their respective backgrounds. Indeed the name itself, Hjem means ‘home’ in both Northumbrian and Scandinavian.
After spending 20 years gaining experience across some top restaurants in Scandinavia and the UK, the couple felt ready to start realising their ambition of opening a fine dining restaurant against a gorgeous Northumberland backdrop.
Ally says, “I grew up in Northumberland and didn’t appreciate how beautiful it was until I left. I want to show off the best of the county and its produce to the rest of the UK and beyond.
“Bringing both mine and Alex’s backgrounds and passions together to offer a new fine dining experience in Northumberland feels very exciting and special. We’ve been talking about this for such a long time, it’s wonderful to see everything coming together just as we imagined.
“The past few weeks have seen a lot of hard work, but looking around the restaurant and seeing people enjoying what we’ve created makes it all worthwhile. We can’t wait to welcome lots of people to our Hjem.”
Alex says, “Having worked in some amazing restaurants, I always knew I wanted to have my own restaurant one day. I want to lead my own team and mentor my chefs in the way that previous chefs have mentored and inspired me.
“I have a real passion for developing new dishes and menus and love finding new techniques for working with ingredients. Northumberland is an amazing place for sourcing top quality produce and I’ve loved developing a whole range of dishes.”
Diners at Restaurant Hjem can choose from the 12-course tasting menu (£75 per person) or the more concise six-course tasting experience (£45 per person). Some of the courses are small bites, others are larger dishes. Wine pairing and juice pairing is also available.
In both cases, all ingredients will have been sourced from the surrounding farms and gardens (full suppliers list below) and diners will be able to see their food being prepared in the open kitchen before it’s served by Alex, Ally and their handpicked team, which includes Sommelier Anna Frost (formerly of L’Enclume and Braun in East London) and Sous Chef Marek Diezdiec (formerly of Principal Hotel Bloomsbury).
Although the menus can and will change from day to day, examples from the opening menu include: Wild rabbit broth; Sunflower seed tart with chicken liver and pine; Pink fir apple potatoes and blackcurrant; sourdough bread with North Acomb farm butter; Rabbit loin tartare; Scallops, bacon and kale; Guinea fowl and last year’s Jerusalem artichoke; Horseradish sorbet, apple caramel and blossom; and Juniper canelé.
As well as bringing a whole new dining experience to the Tyne Valley, Ally and Alex have also taken charge of the running of The Hadrian too, including the kitchen of course.
A tasty new home-cooked menu is already going down well with locals and visitors alike, with dishes such as pork and black pudding sausage roll; Twice Brewed beer battered fish and chips; Cauliflower soup with a sourdough roll and Sewingshields Rib Eye steak.
Restaurant Hjem suppliers:
Beef – Jamie Murray, Sewingshields Farm
Lamb – Andrew and Jane Gibson, Newbrough
Poultry – Kerr Henry, Acomb
Pork and Dairy – Robin Batey, North Acomb Farm
Vegetables, Ken Holland, Little Harle
Eggs – Jeff Hogg, Wall
Clay Tableware – Rosie McLachlan, Alston
Wooden Tableware – Jeremy Thompson, St John Lee
Artwork – Fiona Grey Designs, Ouseburn, Newcastle