Newcastle chef-restaurateur Terry Laybourne’s latest venture in the city is a boutique city-centre hotel, which will open in September.

Jesmond Dene House, a Grade-II listed building situated in two acres of gardens, is due to open on 1 September after extensive renovation costing more than £4m.

The 41-bedroom hotel will comprise a new-build annex, a restaurant and conference facilities for 110. The restaurant, unlike Laybourne’s well-known Café 21, will focus on food from the local area.

Laybourne said: “I’ve got to know the local food producers and appreciate what they are doing and trying to achieve. We will design a food concept around this so it is product led. It’ll be great produce done simply.”

He explained: “It’s a great fun project, the economic climate is right and Newcastle is screaming for a quality hotel. I walked away from the quality end of restaurants four years ago – I was looking for the right venue but just couldn’t find it.

“I’m in for rough ride over the next 12 months and under no illusions, but we’ve got open minds and big hearts and will get there.”

River Green Developers is partnering Laybourne in the venture.

Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 27 January 2005

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