Northumberland’s only Michelin Star restaurant has been honoured at the National Restaurant Awards 2021.
The much-anticipated annual awards, which reveal the list of the 100 best restaurants in the UK, took place at London’s Allegra Restaurant in Stratford on Monday night (August 16) and Restaurant Hjem, made quite the debut… coming in at number 25.
Located in Wall in the heart of Hadrian’s Wall Country, Hjem opened in May 2019 and quickly made its name as a destination restaurant, attracting food lovers from all over the North East and far beyond thanks to its exquisite tasting menu and unique atmosphere.
Head chef Alex Nietosvuori from Sweden, who runs Hjem with his partner, Northumberland-born Ally Thompson, said: “It was wonderful to be told that Hjem was going to listed in the Top 100 restaurants from all over the UK – but then of course you have to wait and find out what your number is! Being named number 25 feels pretty great.
“It was lovely to come down to London to attend an awards ceremony in person and meet up with others from the industry to celebrate after such a difficult 18 months.”
Voted for by an academy of chefs, restaurateurs and food writers and organised by industry title Restaurant magazine, The Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards are an annual summer celebration and regularly serve up the largest gathering of top chefs and restaurateurs in the UK.
Ally said: “Being able to travel down to the Awards and toast our success with so many of our industry colleagues was very special – and quite emotional.
“We didn’t dare dream we would make our first appearance in the top quarter of the list so we’re absolutely delighted. Despite this being the toughest year for hospitality, we feel lucky that we’ve actually had a lot to celebrate and it’s fantastic to be flying the flag for Northumberland and all our wonderful suppliers.”
Earlier this year, Alex and Ally’s ambition to achieve Michelin Guide status was realised after the world’s most prestigious restaurant guide declared the North East’s fine dining landscape had a new shining star.
Having attracted the attention of Michelin Guide inspectors just weeks after opening – resulting in commending Michelin Plate entry in the 2020 Guide – Hjem, which combines the best local produce with Scandinavian values and cooking techniques, was given that very special seal of approval.
Alex, who lists some of Scandinavia’s most celebrated restaurants on his CV including Maaemo in Oslo (3 Michelin Stars) and Daniel Berlin Krog in Skåne Tranås (2 Michelin Stars), said: “We feel very proud to be Northumberland’s only Michelin starred restaurant and are looking forward to celebrating being Northumberland’s only Top 100 restaurant with the team back at Hjem and our guests.”