Top chef brings the best of the Orient to Newcastle
A chef who has worked everywhere from Miami to London will be bringing a new flavour to an old favourite. Malaysian-born Walter Pang is now heading up the kitchen at the new Buddha at Newcastle’s 55 Degrees North, which is launching its new menu this week (25 June).
And the chef – who trained in Japan and also worked at London’s famed Nobu restaurant – is promising a completely new take on popular dishes. The Buddha, which has relocated to the upper floor of the venue with the downstairs occupied by the Alpine-themed Antler bar, will see Walter’s signature touches on the menu.
And the chef believes that many of the authentic dishes now available will be a first for the city. At the heart of his cooking is the discipline he learned while studying in Japan and using techniques and recipes which have Walter’s own stamp.
“We are still keeping many of the restaurant’s favourite dishes but we’ll be constantly introducing new options or preparing them in different ways to be really authentic,” he said. Specials will reflect Walter’s philosophy of being guided by the four seasons – “offering cold weather food in summer and hotter food in winter so that we can balance the atmosphere.”
Dishes such as Walter’s special pork belly will be on the menu and the plan is to introduce a range of his specialities including homemade chicken and lobster caviar. “My plan is to set a standard here that people might previously have to travel to London for,” said the chef, who was previously collected by helicopter by a diner who wanted him to cook for him privately. “I believe what we will be offering will really be something completely different to anywhere else in Newcastle, or in fact across the North East.”
The new menu draws inspiration from across the Far East, featuring dishes from Thailand, Malaysia, China and Japan. “We’re delighted to have been able to entice a chef of Walter’s skill to Newcastle and we look forward to being able to showcase to diners what he can do,” said Gary Hutchinson of Chrysalis Leisure, which owns Buddha and Antler.