CNG MEETS THE BRIEF AT PORTERHOUSE
When CNG took on a new project for chef and restaurateur Terry Laybourne it knew that the stakes would be high. Replacing the existing butcher’s shop by creating a meat equivalent to the adjacent Saltwater fish bar and fishmonger in the food hall at Fenwick Newcastle was going to be a rare experience.
CNG needn’t have worried. The Porterhouse Butcher & Grill meets the brief perfectly. A key objective of the project was to ensure that the overall design replicated Saltwater, and although they would be two separate businesses, with two separate kitchens and service counters, one would flow into the other.
To create sufficient seating space the adjacent Thai noodle bar was closed with CNG being instructed to re-use as much of the bar’s equipment as possible without compromising the design or the operation of the Porterhouse kitchen. Other key factors were the introduction of a Josper oven, additional ventilation and a new cookline for the meat section that would serve Porterhouse.
Dedicated meat storage and preparation areas were created in a compact area, ensuring the separation of raw and cooked meats, and allowing the outlet to sell fresh meat as well as operating as a restaurant.
Good visibility for guests and chefs alike was crucial, however with 98% of the area on view to the customers, lines of site were critical. Bins and stock needed to be hidden, while keeping everything looking stylish, and, of course, safe to operate.
Saltwater and Porterhouse were opened up with the removal of walls that had separated both the rear areas and the front counters. By removing these walls a large section of the storage in each area was lost. It also meant that the Saltwater kitchen would have to be redesigned.
To fit a mini combi oven for each kitchen, the solution was to stack two of them, one with a left hand hinged door, one with a right hand hinged door, just inside the Saltwater side. Where possible, the existing equipment in the butchers was also retained.
Cooking with natural fuels in such a public and open space demanded very detailed and careful design and the specification of additional ventilation. Behind the scenes a prep kitchen was created, although fitting in the new equipment and accommodating the noodle bar items resembled a very tricky stainless steel jigsaw puzzle.
The installation programme was very precise for each phase of the works and took several weeks, with most elements being completed at night or, if during the day, very quietly behind screens, as the Food Hall remained open and very busy throughout the installation process. Saltwater remained open for business throughout the build.
Today the design looks as if it’s always been there and the two businesses flow seamlessly one into the other as intended.
CNG has achieved exactly what the client wanted, a great working environment that not only looks good but also works well. Business is brisk at Porterhouse and surpassing budget on both fresh meat sales and the restaurant side of the business so, thanks to CNG, everyone is a winner.