It may be no more than a dot on the map, but the hamlet of Summerhouse now boasts one of the north-east’s more ambitious and ‘evolving’ kitchens – plus a magnificent wine cellar to boot.
Occupying a Grade II-listed former inn once frequented by the eponymous hunt, this reinvigorated restaurant-with-rooms is elegantly contemporary in style with proceedings now focused on just one über-sophisticated tasting menu of 15 courses from the cutting edge of modern British cuisine.
If you don’t fancy the entire 15-course experience, The Raby Hunt offers a smaller version of its tasting menu on Saturday lunchtimes. However, if you’re looking for an extra special experience, we’d recommend plumping for a seat at the restaurant’s Kitchen Table, where you can watch the team of chefs prepare your meal right in front of your very eyes, with a few surprise courses making an appearance too.
Self-taught chef James Close is working wonders here and his cooking is exception skilful – The Raby Hunt is the first and only restaurant to boast two Michelin stars in the north-east of England. The menu changes periodically, but dishes you may come across on your visit include a crab taco, tempura langoustine, and razor clams with almond and celeriac. An ultra-luxe supplementary course is also available in the form of A5 Wagyu beef topped with smoked aubergine and Petrossian caviar.
After that, flavours collide in a tart of mango, yuzu and coconut, while black olive and chocolate keep company with sheep’s yoghurt. Service is top-drawer, and the magisterial wine list offers pedigree, class and value across the range.
Note that The Raby Hunt does not currently offer a separate vegetarian tasting menu and that the restaurant is unable to cater for major allergies, so diners should make sure to flag any allergies before booking a table.