A fine-dining restaurant is doing its bit to ensure there’s no shortage of Christmas comfort during the pandemic.

Like other eateries across the district, Restaurant Hjem is currently not allowed to welcome diners into its popular venue at Wall.

But while its owners eagerly await news of when the doors can open again, the restaurant is already pressing ahead with plans for the festive period.

The business, led by chef Alex Nietosvuori and partner Ally Thompson, is taking orders for a special Christmas comfort box – a selection of tasty delights designed to bring a portion of luxury into the homes of customers.

Everything in the box will have been cured, cooked or baked by Hjem’s award-winning team and packaged up to be enjoyed at home over the Christmas period.

It follows the success of spring and summer boxes produced by the team earlier in the year.

Ally said: “We knew when we had to close the restaurant in light of the Covid-19 restrictions, we wanted to do something to allow people to still enjoy a taste of Hjem.

“The comfort boxes we put together in the spring and summer went down so well with people. We consistently sold out and couldn’t make them fast enough, so we were already thinking about putting together something a bit special – and a bit bigger – for Christmas.

“It’s a great way to continue supporting our wonderful suppliers and showcase the quality produce we’re lucky enough to have on our doorstep.

“Obviously we’re very much hoping that we will be able to welcome guests back into our dining room throughout December, but in the meantime, we hope this gives everyone something extra and lovely to look forward to this Christmas.”

Ideal for an indulgent meal the night before Christmas, or just as tempting when enjoyed at any time during the festivities, the Hjem Christmas comfort box will feed between two and four people, depending on how diners choose to enjoy it.

The boxes will contain Hjem honey-roasted ham, confit duck leg rillette with wild garlic capers, chicken liver parfait, Northumbrian cheese selection, gingerbread and spiced chutney, a charcuterie selection, and potato crisps with trout roe and crème fraiche.

They will also include pistachio and pork terrine, festive sausage roll, salmon gravadlax and mustard dressing, pickled herring, sourdough and local butter from North Acomb Farm.

For those with a sweet tooth, there will also be creamy rice pudding and preserved berry jam spiced canelés, almond butterscotch, traditional mince pies, and coconut macaroons. The comfort boxes will be available for pre-order throughout November for collection on December 21-24. For more information visit www.restauranthjem.co.uk.