Chefs at Tyneside’s newest restaurant have moved mountains to create a menu featuring classic Alpine dishes. Savour’s Rosie Jenkinson chats to Gary Hutchinson, founder of new Alpine-themed bar and restaurant, Antler.
From Bavarian ham and bratwursts to ski gondolas and fondue bingo, Antler is the new Alpine-inspired restaurant in Newcastle that everyone is talking about.
It certainly has the wow factor. Situated in the middle of a busy roundabout in Newcastle city centre, what was once the Fat Buddha restaurant has undergone a £750,000 transformation to create Antler. This Alpine-style bar and restaurant pays homage to ski lodges in Austria and Switzerland and serves up an exciting menu of dishes that are perfect for social sharing.
“There’s nothing like this in the city. It’s unique. It’s huge,” says Gary Hutchinson, whose company, Chrysalis Leisure, has developed the site.
“We have a good story, but the main ethos is on a welcoming, rustic, Alpine experience with really good food by our head chef.”
The sharing platters of sliced continental meats, cheese, bread and pickles come piled high on snowboards, while you’ll also find Alpine pizzas, schnitzels, bratwursts, currywursts, home-made meatballs and Alpine sliders on the menu. The focus is on sharing food in a fun, relaxed environment with homely dishes.
At the bar, you’ll find a huge range of cocktails from theatrical, smoking creations to classics such as G&Ts, all designed by Daniel Stewart, the general manager at Antler, who has worked at The Alchemist Group in London.
Antler has also teamed up with the internationally renowned Mahiki cocktail bars (found in London, Marbella and Dubai) to offer guests a top-quality cocktail experience, as well as being the only bar in the city to serve Czech Krušovice beer straight from the tank.
As well as the food and drink offering, there is a vibrant live entertainment programme of events, including live bands and performance acts. Tuesday evening is fondue bingo night, with a bingo caller and fondue on the tables.
“It’s fun, what we have here at Antler, and it’s a bit off the wall and eclectic and different,” says Gary. “Some people would say it’s a weakness, being on a roundabout, but we’ve turned that into one of our strengths by having the biggest garden in the city. It’s highly visible as you enter Newcastle from this direction. People love gardens, be that in the summer or the winter.”
During the summer months, when the weather is good, guests can enjoy a Mahiki beach garden and barbecue outside. “The outdoor garden will allow the sun in, but we will also close it over for the winter and it will be heated,” explains Gary.
All year, you’ll find the ski gondola booths out there, as well as the wood-fired pizza oven where guests can see their meal prepared and cooked in front of them.
There are also plans to host Sunday lunch and create an in-house bakery. Watch this space – we don’t know what Antler will do next! As Gary says, “It’s different. Come and try it.”