A old converted Inn in a small village just outside Darlington with a capacity of 30 people, and with a self-taught head chef 7 years into the job does not sound like the recipe for success, however The Raby Hunt has just been given it's second Michelin Star.
A former drovers' inn in the rural hamlet of Summerhouse and originally part of the Raby Estate, was a favourite finishing point for the old hunt. It's now an elegantly decorated family-run restaurant, where a passionate self-taught chef uses first class ingredients to create original dishes which leave you impatient for the next.
Last year it was the only restaurant that increased it’s Michelin Star rating (that is originally received in 2012), and is one of only 20 Double Michelin Star Restaurants you will find in the whole country.
Glasgow, Sheffield and even Manchester……yes Manchester can’t even boast a restaurant with even 1 Michelin star, and between them have 3.7 million people. Summerhouse has a population of 143!
But Michelin stars and top level cuisine are a far cry from head chef James Close’s previous occupation. It was only 7 years ago that he called it a day as a golfer, after little success on the pro scene, and joined the family run hospitality business.
The Raby Hunt was originally going to be a bistro, but the family decided to go down the fine dining route instead, and it’s safe to say it has very much paid off.
It’s certainly not done for the money however – they recently stopped their lunchtime menu which will almost cost them some money – but this is so the chefs have more time to prepare and create new dishes for the evening. It’s all about presenting the highest quality food.
At the top of the menu is written 'inspired by simplicity' and James has taken to heart the idea that dishes should not be over complicated, with too many things going on, but in his dishes there's always enough going on and he strikes the balance well.
Capacity of The Raby Hunt is small, but a whole night can be made of a visit there as they are also comes with some contemporary bedrooms that are set in the old stables that are available for booking.
For more information please head on over to the official website here.