The Glass House at Wynyard Hall brings the outdoors in with its picture-perfect botanical theme and menu informed by the ingredients grown in the garden.
Diners at the new addition to the venue can see everything from the carrots and beetroots to the herbs that go into their dishes growing directly outside in the kitchen garden, which has been carefully cultivated over lockdown.
It’s a major new development at the landmark privately-owned estate, in Wynyard, with the main hall and its former Wellingtons restaurant now operating for exclusive venue hire only.
While wedding and other function guests can enjoy the opulence of the main hall, The Glass House, which stands apart from the former stately home of the Londonderry family within the walled garden area of the sprawling estate, has a much more relaxed ambience and is aimed at everyone, from dog walkers who can enjoy a drink in the bar area to families out for lunch and people looking for a high quality evening meal.
In its first six weeks of trading, The Glass house, which has created 20 new jobs, has already proved a hit with its customers thanks to its plot to plate dining concept.
Head chef Kleo Tabaku says that’s it’s a ‘dream’ to have so much fresh produce on his doorstep from which to craft his menus.
"For a chef this is a dream job,” he said. “Customers can see the chefs out in the garden, picking their herbs, or carrots, beans or other ingredients. You rarely see that when you’re eating in a restaurant. We even have our honey from our bees and it’s lovely to see them gathering nectar from the garden.
"The food is elegant, healthy and vibrant. We’ve worked really hard to create the right feel and ambience and we feel like The Glass House is unique in the North East, there’s nothing else like this.”
He added: “I’m from Albania and I grew up with small holdings where we ate what we took from the ground, so to have a restaurant like this is a childhood dream. The garden dictates what’s on the menu and sometimes it can change daily, depending on if a snail has eaten something etc, it’s a very adaptable menu.”
As well as utilising the wealth of produce grown on the 120-acre estate, The Glass House uses local suppliers wherever possible, such as fish from Hodgson’s in Hartlepool, cheese from Parlour Made in County Durham, dairy products from Acorn Dairy in Darlington, wheat from Craggs & Co in Sedgefield and meat from Broom House Farm in Durham and R&J butchers near Ripon. Ultimately, the aim is to create a 25-mile menu.
The Glass House had previously been used as a shop and for cookery classes, but customer feedback showed that people would like to see it used as a restaurant.
Wynyard Hall hasn’t even advertised the restaurant yet but word of mouth has seen bookings soar at the 70-cover eatery, with it fully booked for the next three Sundays for a traditional roast dinner.