Two restaurants in the North East have been named in the Good Food Guide Awards 2024.

Hjem in Wall, Northumberland and Solstice by Kenny Atkinson in Newcastle upon Tyne were both included as “exceptional restaurants” at the latest awards ceremony.

In fact, both venues have retained their exceptional rating by The Good Food Guide.

Speaking about this year’s awards, The Good Food Guide said: “The days of numbered lists are over.

“After 15 years of publishing top rankings, we The Good Food Guide Awards 2024 supported by Resy presents a line up of restaurants leading in their field and the 39 Exceptional and World Class restaurants that deliver perfection at every service.

“Each restaurant has been carefully and anonymously inspected to earn their place here and we wholeheartedly recommend every one of them.

“We urge you to dip in, read the reviews and work out, according to your taste, which will be your favourite? In 2024, that’s how you choose a restaurant.”

What did The Good Food Guide say about Hjem?

Location: Hadrian Hotel, Front Street, Wall, Northumberland, NE46 4EE

Tripadvisor rating: 5/5

Hjem’s review by The Good Food Guide reads: “To misquote Judy Garland, 'there’s no place like Hjem'. Meaning ‘home or place of belonging’ in both Northumbrian and Swedish, this restaurant's cooking, ingredients and style are confidently rooted across these two complementary cultures.

“It’s the Scandi-Northumberland dreamchild of couple Alex Nietosvuori and Alexandra Thompson – reflecting his personality and technical pedigree in the kitchen, and hers in the comfort and warmth front of house.”

When it comes to the food, the experts commented: “The tasting menu sets the scene with around six opening mouthfuls, each a mini masterpiece delivered in turn by one of the chefs – perhaps a rich lobster claw beignet with compressed chicken skin or a sliver of smoked eel with sharp Doddington cheese and pearlescent local lardo.

“Larger plates follow; two fish courses, two meat and then a seeming deluge of desserts. Humble mackerel is anointed with a flavour-laden crystalline tomato water and wafers of salted radish, while a tender but sumo-sized scallop is served simply in a vin jaune sauce cut with walnut oil.

The Northern Echo: Here's a dish you could expect to try at Solstice by Kenny AtkinsonHere's a dish you could expect to try at Solstice by Kenny Atkinson (Image: Tripadvisor)

One Good Food Guide reader said Hjem was “arguably one of the best restaurants I have eaten at.”

The restaurant's review continues to say: “The commitment to showcasing what lives and grows within reach of the picture-perfect village of Wall ensures a grounding in authenticity and resists the lure of unnecessary adornments.”

Read Hjem’s full review by The Good Food Guide here.

What did The Good Food Guide say about Solstice?

Location: 5-7 The Side, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne & Wear, NE1 3JE 

Tripadvisor rating: 5/5

Read Solstice by Kenny Atkinson's full review by The Good Food Guide here.

The Good Food Guide review explains: “Guests are presented with a bare-bones menu on arrival: ‘caviar’, ‘cod roe’ and ‘mackerel’ being the first three items on our line-up (shortly before the winter solstice).

“Elaborate verbal descriptions are provided at table, and you’re given a detailed account on paper at the end.

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“A meal here is characterised by beautifully presented, complex morsels of artistry, where contrasting textures and tiny bursts of concentrated flavour excite the taste buds.”

The food experts said highlights on their visit included seafood, which is “certainly a star,” adding: “Lindisfarne oyster, poached in its shell then covered with an oyster and bonito beurre blanc, topped with oscietra caviar set off by drops of walnut oil (applied at the table); langoustine tail roasted in its oil yet still translucent, served with a citrus yuzu koshu butter sauce and fennel flower; steamed pollock, wrapped in nori and stuffed with a fish and mussel mousse, the masterstroke being its intense Craster kipper sauce.”

The Good Food Guide review of Solstice by Kenny Atkinson praised the restaurant saying it could become the “brightest star in the Newcastle firmament.”