Two of the region’s top restaurants have been named among the best in the country.
James Close’s Michelin-starred Raby Hunt at Summerhouse, near Darlington, and House of Tides, on Newcastle Quayside, have been included in this year’s list of the Top 100 Restaurants in the UK.
The Raby Hunt has come in at number 51 and House of Tides, which was only opened 16 months ago by former Michelin-starred chef Kenny Atkinson, is at number 62.
The latest list was announced at the National Restaurant Awards in London this week, along with the winners of a number of coveted awards.
The National Restaurant of the Year 2015 title went to London’s Barrafina Adelaide Street, which now tops this year’s list of best eateries. It also picked up the Best Spanish Restaurant accolade.
Among other winners was The Sportsman in Seasalter, Kent, which took Gastropub of the Year and came in at number two on the list which is compiled by Restaurant Magazine from votes cast by industry experts, chefs, food critics and restaurateurs.
Now in their eighth year, the National Restaurant Awards are considered an accessible alternative to other food honours, such as the Michelin Guide.
Kenny Atkinson said it was a “fantastic achievement” that House of Tides, which stands in the shadow of both the High Level Bridge and Newcastle’s old city wall, should have made the prestigious list so soon after opening.
“This has been a phenomenal year for us. We have won The Journal’s Secret Diner 2014 North East Restaurant of the Year as well as Best Newcomer, were in the running alongside some of the country’s top establishments for the Craft Guild of Chefs’ New Restaurant of the Year, and on July 7 will find out if we have won the Newcomer Award at the Cateys, which are considered the Oscars of the catering world.
“It is great for all the team. It makes everyone feel they are part of something special. The North East tends to get overlooked when it comes to food, but for both us and The Raby Hunt to be included among the Top 100 Restaurants in the UK shows we have got quality up here.
“The North East is changing and we have some really good restaurants doing outstanding cooking.”
Kenny, who attended the National Restaurant Awards, says he couldn’t believe House of Tides went straight in at 62.
“We were sat among the best chefs in the country and they did a countdown of the top 100.
“All these big names were getting announced like the Waterside Inn (run by Michel and Alain Roux) and The Fat Duck (owned by Heston Blumenthal) and I thought, Jesus, are we actually on this list?
“It was a real ‘wow’ moment when House of Tides came in at 62. It’s a great feeling to be the 62nd best restaurant in the country. Now we just want to keep on growing.”
Plans are in place to ensure this happens. House of Tides has been open five days a week but from August 6 there will be Monday to Saturday opening for lunch and dinner.