See inside the stunning new Glass House restaurant at Wynyard Hall

Is this the North East’s prettiest new restaurant?

By Katy Wheeler
Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 4:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th September 2021, 8:18 am

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.

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Inside the new Glass House restaurant at Wynyard Hall

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 Glass House restaurant, Wynyard Hall. Picture by Frank Reid

"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.

Kleo Tabaku Head Chef at The Glass House restaurant, Wynyard Hall. Picture by Frank Reid

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.

Kleo said: “In six weeks, not one plate has come back to the kitchen with food on it, which is unreal. Some people have been back six or seven times, which is what we want. This is a very accessible, relaxed restaurant and everyone is welcome.”

He added: “Lockdown was a very difficult time, but it gave us the free time to rethink the direction of the business, what’s important for Wynyard Hall and what’s important for the local people.”

*The Glass House is open Wednesdays to Sundays from 11am to 9pm.

The Glass House is within The Walled Garden

What’s on the menu

The menu changes regularly, but an example of some of the dishes you can expect to find are: small plates such as garden vegetable soup and house focaccia (£6); cauliflower, cumin and spinach fritters with minted yoghurt (£7) and spiced local lamb kofta with tzatziki and garden salad (£9).

Mains include fettuccine with stem broccoli and walnuts (£14), confit duck leg with garden runner beans and garden okra (£19) and steamed halibut with foraged sea veg and fish cream (£21).

Dessert options include apple and blackberry crumble pie with vanilla ice cream (£6) and Parlour Made cheese board (£12).

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Colin Mcilwain with The Glass House Tiramisu with pistachios.
Plaice, smoked chowder & foraged sea veg
Reece Jones in the vegetable garden at The Glass House restaurant, Wynyard Hall. Picture by Frank Reid
Crispy garden courgette flowers, lemon aioli
Dog walkers and their four-legged friends are welcome in the bar area
Many ingredients for the dishes and drinks are straight from the garden
The Glass House restaurant, Wynyard Hall. Picture by Frank Reid
The Glass House restaurant, Wynyard Hall. Picture by Frank Reid
The Glass House restaurant, Wynyard Hall. Picture by Frank Reid
The Glass House restaurant, Wynyard Hall. Picture by Frank Reid