Restaurant Hjem & Hadrian Hotel in Wall, Northumberland
Will Ross, June 16, 2023
Roman emperor Hadrian was onto something when he decided to envelop a small knoll in the final few yards of the Roman Empire. This frontier is home to the village of Wall and now a restaurant worth crossing both Albion and Gaul for.
Opened in 2019 by Swedish chef Alex Nietosvuori and his partner, Northumberland-born Ally Thompson, Hjem (pronounced “yem”) blends Scandinavian constructions and refinement with traditional dishes from the north of England. They’ve already been awarded a Michelin Star – no mean feat after surviving the Covid-19 downturn in footfall.
The ergonomic restaurant comprises of an open kitchen and seating space for up to 24 (an adjacent overflow can be booked privately). A 12-course tasting menu changes seasonally – an array of dishes that are served in parallel across all tables. Wine pairings are available but the tasting menu goes just as well with a glass of an initial white win, the red to pair with venison and pigeon meats which come later. Vegan, vegetarian and pescatarian options can be arranged by Hjem if notified at least a day prior.
Hjem is located alongside a bar space (the original bar of its predecessor, the Hadrian Pub). Bedrooms occupy the second floor of the building – The Hadrian Hotel – and are price between £125 and £165 per night.
Staying overnight also means sampling the impressive Hjem breakfast the following morning – an exceptional spread of ham, cheese, yoghurt and cereals that almost in themselves justify an overnight stay.
The area surrounding Hjem is well qualified for outdoors pursuits. Kielder Forest to the North and England-Scotland border is within reach for well trained cyclists, and nearby trails work for runners packing trail shoes (the road routes aren’t ideal, and the road to Hexham a death sentence).
Swimmers will need to hop on the bus to Hexham where Wentworth Leisure Centre is well appointed, also alongside a running track – home to Tyneside Harriers who train on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
Reserve a seating or accommodation at Hjem at restauranthjem.co.uk. The easiest way to get to Hjem by public transit is to take the train to Hexham, then grab a £12 taxi up the road.
Header Photo: James Byrne Photography