A Chef’s Guide to Northumberland

By Ellie Smith

6 months ago

Cal and Siân Byerley share their favourite foodie spots in the region


England’s northernmost county, Northumberland is known for its beautiful landscapes, pretty market towns and historic castles. It’s also home to an abundance of great produce, which means there’s a strong food scene, with lots of lovely cosy pubs, seafront eateries, fine dining restaurants and more. We’ve enlisted Cal and Siân Byerley, co-owners of Pine restaurant at Vallum Farm, to take us on a tour of the region’s best spots for foodies. Read on for their pick of the best restaurants in Northumberland.

Cal and Siân Byerley

Cal and Sian Byerley

Cal and Sian earned their stripes working at top hospitality spots around the country: Cal cooked in places like Rogan & Co and Forest Side in Grasmere, while Siân’s CV includes places like the House of Tides and Trakol in Newcastle. Pine is their debut restaurant, set in an old cow barn amid the picturesque Northumberland countryside. The eatery received its first Michelin Star in 2022, alongside a Michelin Green Star, and it regularly features in lists of the UK’s best eateries – including the recent prestigious La Liste 2024.

Pine offers tasting menus designed to showcase the bountiful local produce, with many ingredients grown in their on-site kitchen garden. Cal creates the menu alongside his friend, chef Ian Waller, and together the pair focus on nose-to-tail butchery, preservation techniques and minimising waste. Here, Cal and Siân share their recommendations for the best places to eat in Northumberland.

Best Food Spots & Restaurants In Northumberland: Cal and Siân Byerley’s Pick

Corbridge Cook Shop, Corbridge

As a chef growing up this was a well visited shop in my early years, whether I needed a new knife, peeler, Madeleine tray – you name it, they usually have it. But also those daft bits you need in a hurry like a drill bit, felt feet, takeaway boxes – anything random and practical you need in a hurry this is the shop I think of.

15 Middle St, Corbridge NE45 5AT, corbridgecookshop.co.uk

RE, Corbridge

Jenny and Simon’s lifestyle and home accessories store is equal parts odd and amazing. You don’t know you need something from RE until you set foot through the door. Beautiful recycled and restored things are a sign of their style, along with many more bits designed and created in house. My wife can’t leave without a plant, and I’m usually enthralled with classic jelly moulds or ridiculously oversized boxes of matches. You can see the odd piece from there at Pine – some things we’ve even altered ourselves, like wooden spoons were whittled into skewers recently. RE’s ethos mirrors that of Pine: sustainable and ethical, describing the people they work with as their family. I REally love this store! 

Bishops Yard, Main St, Corbridge NE45 5LA, re-foundobjects.com

Steamed plaice at Pine restaurant

Food at Pine

Vallum, Newcastle upon Tyne

We have some wonderful neighbours at Vallum Farm, such as N Land HQ, where David has created a 250-mile trip around Northumberland with Vallum as their new base. Come find out about a trip around Northumberland in one of their custom kitted out Land Rovers. Included at N Lane HQ is Northumberland Coffee, run by David’s sister, Amy, who is now roasting and serving the finest coffee. Come have a delicious flat white and take a stroll around the farm where you can also find Pines garden, a beautiful tea room, and the stunning Hygge cabins you can now book alongside your meal at Pine. 

vallumfarm.co.uk

The Rat, Hexham

Let’s get onto eating. Sunday is my favourite day for eating, it’s usually the day I catch up with family over a Sunday lunch. The Rat is one of those pubs perfectly trapped in time with a wood burning stove and a great menu selection with local butchers at the forefront. I usually enjoy a terrine of sorts then a beef dinner which always comes with a great selection of vegetables on the side with a gravy boat to boot. I always finish off things with a cheese board and a flat white and before you know it hours have passed you by in this tranquil and rural pub.

Anick, Hexham NE46 4LN, theratinn.com

The Feathers Inn, Stocksfield

This pub embodies what it means to be a great pub. It’s old, it has history, the food is individual to them, but most importantly delicious. Now with our dog Gordon, my life decisions are dictated by where he can go, behave, be put up with and this is one of those places. You can book inside or out depending on the weather but consider this a perfect pub in all seasons. Pints outside in the summer – or if you want to get snowed in at a pub, this is the pub I’d recommend. It’s never happened, it’s just the sort of place I wish it would. 

Hedley on the Hill, Stocksfield NE43 7SW, thefeathers.net

Pine bar

The bar at Pine

Turnbull’s Food Hall, Alnwick

The modern, state-of the-art food hall features traditional butchers as well as an indulgent selection of seasonal vegetables, award-winning pies and salads, hot and cold food-to-go and so much more. The food hall also showcases the best Northumbrian produce from an abundance of local suppliers, making Turnbull’s the one stop shop for everything you might need. A perfect place to stop and grab something for dinner to make your life that little bit easier. 

2 Alnwick Retail Park, Taylor Drive, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 2DJ, turnbullsfood.co.uk

Hjem, Hexham

No foodie trip to Northumberland is complete without Hjem. Hjem is the dream project of Swedish chef Alex Nietosvuori and his partner, Northumberland-born Ally Thompson, who have joined forces to create a destination restaurant which represents the very best of their respective backgrounds, in the heart of Hadrian’s Wall country. Expect exemplary cooking with dishes like dry aged spring lamb, parsley, fried duck liver and preserved lemon jam and grilled white asparagus, butter poached squid and potato all featuring on their tasting menu. I think I’ve eaten at Hjem at least once a year since it opened, and the experience is always better each time.

The Hadrian Hotel, Front St, Wall, Hexham NE46 4EE, restauranthjem.co.uk

Watsonia Flower Shop, Corbridge

Watsonia Florists is a well-established florist now in Middle Street, right opposite Corbridge Cookshop. It offers a large variety of fresh flowers as well as dried, indoor plants, wreaths, vases, cards, and lots of gifts. Always super friendly and always well stocked for whatever the occasion. 

10-12 Middle St, Corbridge NE45 5AT, watsoniaflorists.co.uk