Harden's survey result
For 25 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. This year diners have submitted over 60,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK.
“I cried it was so good!”… “the single most satisfying food I’ve eaten in my 35 years on the planet!” … “James Close is one of the top, top chefs in the country and his incredible passion is shown in every detail” at this restaurant-with-rooms, “set in an unimposing, out-of-the-way village, in the Durham Dales”. That said, since it was awarded two Michelin Stars its ratings actually declined a fraction this year as it took flak for a couple of disappointing experiences. Perhaps, though, it was the strain of preparing to have the builders in? (Towards the end of the survey, in May 2017, the restaurant closed for a £400k extension and redevelopment, the building of a new restaurant entrance, and the installation of glass walls so diners can watch the chef and his team at work.)
James Close’s “hidden gem is now getting the accolades it deserves”: in October 2016 it was the only establishment to be elevated to two Michelin stars in this year’s crop of awards. He runs “a really down-to-earth team” who make “wonderful use of local ingredients” to create food that’s “delicious, subtle and well-presented, but also honest and wholesome rather than ‘too-clever-by-half’”. To cap it all, this restaurant with rooms is “beautifully located” too, in the Durham Dales.
“Tucked away in the Durham Dales”, James Close’s restaurant (with two rooms) revolves around “an ethos of showing off local ingredients to their best effect”. “Down-to-earth” staff provide a choice of “clever and delicious” tasting menus, of which the best dishes are “a revelation in simple but confident cooking”.
“Best food we’d eaten anywhere this year!”; James Close’s restaurant-with-rooms dishes up “wonderful combinations of taste and texture”, winning unanimous rave reviews for this “emerging star” – “off the beaten track, but worth a trip”.
Summerhouse, DL2 3UD
Saturday 12pm to 2pm; 6pm to 9.30pm; Wednesday to Saturday 6pm to 9.30pm
Last orders: Mon & Tue closed, Wed - Sat 9.30 pm, Sun closed