As the critically-acclaimed Raby Hunt restaurant prepares to close this evening (January 27) - we take a last look around the venue which has been home to some of the greatest culinary successes over the years. 

The venue, which is based in Summerhouse in Darlington, will plate up its last service in front of ex-staff members and some of its most esteemed diners, as owner and chef of the restaurant, James Close, steps away from the Raby Hunt after 14 years. 

Mr Close announced earlier this year that he would step down from the Raby Hunt in favour of a move to five-star Darlington hotel, spa and golf resort, Rockliffe Hall.

Before the venue closes its doors, we popped along to the Raby Hunt to have a last look inside and a chat with Mr Close about his time at the Raby Hunt, his hopes for Rockliffe Hall and what his culinary journey now means.

Here's our last look around the Raby Hunt: 

The Northern Echo: RABY HUNTThe Northern Echo: The Northern Echo: RABY HUNTThe Northern Echo: RABY HUNTThe Northern Echo: The Northern Echo: RABY HUNTThe Northern Echo: RABY HUNTThe Northern Echo: RABY HUNTPictures: NORTHERN ECHO.

Despite his emotions running high for the final service, he said that Saturday will be a "celebration" of all that he and the team have built at the Raby Hunt. 

"To have the success we have in an area where I grew up is incredible and makes me immensely proud," said Mr Close.

"I went to school around here, went out in Darlington growing up, and to still be representing the area you're from is a great thing.

"To know that we built the Raby Hunt from a pub to a twice Michelin star venue is beyond our dream - we put Summerhouse on the map." 

Recommended reading:

Get more from The Northern Echo and start 2024 informed with 50% off an annual subscription or enjoy 3 months for just £3. Dive into local news and fulfill your resolution to stay updated. Click here.

Building on what he means by 'putting Summerhouse on the map', he admits that he has a great relationship with people who live in the little village around ten minutes away from Darlington. 

Despite the Raby Hunt closing on Saturday - it's currently up on the sale market with Christie & Co for £750,000 - but Mr Close has said that the building, which is owned by his parents, could be leased out to another chef that could take the Raby Hunt name on. 

From the décor to the food, to the atmosphere (and even the shiny silver skull below a glass case - see the picture below), it's fair to say that the Raby Hunt and James Close will be missed after the venue closes on Saturday.