A traditional country inn may not be where you would expect to find a fine dining restaurant hidden away but that's exactly where Hjem is located. Tucked behind a curtain at the back of the Hadrian Hotel's bar, the tiny restaurant is the creation of Swedish chef Alex Nietosvuori and his wife Ally Thompson, who's from Northumberland. Meaning 'home' in both Scandinavian and Geordie slang, Hjem aims to combine the local area's amazing produce with precise Scandi cooking to provide guests with a truly memorable dining experience.
You wouldn't know Hjem was there unless you went looking, with everything from the outside of The Hadrian pointing to a traditional pub. However, once you've found your way to the inn's hidden restaurant, you're greeted by a light-filled space with just six tables and an impressive open kitchen to one side. The elegant décor at Hjem is typically Scandinavian in style to match the intricate menu; stylish chairs sit around circular wooden tables and pendant lights hang from the ceiling.
Hjem's food offering comes in the form of one tasting menu consisting of 15-18 dishes which vary in size from snacks to larger plates and all showcase classic Scandinavian techniques and ingredients sourced from local farms and gardens. Expect dishes such as chicken liver with brown butter and plum, loin of Northumbrian roe deer with fermented cherries, hazelnuts and chives, hot and cold mackerel served with crème fraîche and mustard leaves, and horseradish ice cream with apple caramel and lavender.
In terms of drinks, sommelier Anna Frost has designed a paired wine menu to accompany the tasting menu which is focused around low-intervention and biodynamic wines. For those to do knot wish to drink, there is an equally appealing soft drink pairing which features a number of different juices designed to complement the cookery.