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Meet Our Partners: Antara

Meet Our Partners: Antara

Located right in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, Antara is an ambitious and beautiful venue offering something for every type of citygoer – it’s a bakery and an all-day-and-night eatery serving up quick snacks as well as sit-down meals, and offering freshly baked pastries and delicious Market Lane coffee.

We chatted to the lovely Antara team about the name of their venue, the values and vision behind it, and the thoughtful design of their multi-purpose space.

Market Lane Coffee: What’s the story behind the name Antara? And what’s your vision for the business?

Antara: The vision for Antara has always been an all-day eatery and bakery that speaks to Melbourne – a space that morphs through the day from breakfast to lunch, dinner and then supper. It took us a while to settle on a name, but we found ourselves coming back to Antara, which means ‘in between’ in Sanskrit. It felt fitting for the vision we had for the space, and a nice linguistic link to two of the other restaurants within our group, Aru and Sunda.

Antara is such a beautiful venue. How did the design of the space come together?

Thank you! We once again worked with Kerstin Thompson Architects on this venue – they also designed Aru and Sunda – with the design intent being to support and celebrate the production of dishes and baked goods. Central to the design was the concept of Antara being an array of dining experiences. We have the bakery, the woodfire oven and the all-day eatery, along with a standing bar at the front for pastries in the morning and wine and snacks at night. Kerstin and her team addressed these by placing the kitchen centre-stage, designing banquette dining and communal tables for sit-down and slow dining, and benches and leaning rails for quick, stand-up bites. Elegant bronze glass partitions separate the kitchen while maintaining a unified view of the space, and a datum was established to create a visual connection between the various spaces and materials.

Collectively, we also wanted to show the behind-the-scenes process of baking, brought to life via the glass-fronted dough room on the mezzanine at the rear of the main hall, and through the bronze glass partitions at the front, where the woodfire and deck ovens are located. Kerstin and her team also selected timber and leather furniture and joinery for material warmth, and the hue of freshly baked goods

What can someone expect when they walk into Antara?

Great coffee and the scent of warm bread and freshly baked pastries. The bakery is the first thing that greets you when you enter Antara. We’ve then got the standing bar on the left – great to perch and enjoy that morning espresso, filter and pastry, and to people-watch. Antara unfolds as you go further in, so you’ll then see the dough room on the mezzanine, the deck and woodfire ovens and open kitchen on the right, and the bar towards the back. If you’re coming for lunch and dinner, the seating allows you to soak it all in – the action and the atmosphere.

 What part of this project are you most excited about?

The all-day aspect. It’s a bit of an ambitious undertaking, combining both the bakery and restaurant in the one space, but there is a great symbiosis to it all. Both the baking and restaurant chefs draw on each other for inspiration, allowing us to create interesting flavours with the pastries and, in the case of the restaurant, lean on the bakery for the wonderfully crunchy laminated pastry found in our famous anchovy twist, and the pillowy, sweet-salty milk buns that we serve with our calamari. We’ve been very focused with Antara, using quality local produce and local flours in the breads and pastas, and choosing to go with a laser-sharp focus on the wine list, selecting just one bottle per producer and region to show what our sommeliers feel are the best representation of each kind.

 Tell us about the values behind Antara and how you express them through the business.

We’re really proud of our relationship with another business within our group, PARCS. PARCS is our sustainability-focused small restaurant and wine bar designed around thoughtful eating, and they upcycle the discarded parts of our produce and repurpose ingredients from us, turning them into some really sophisticated, elegant and surprising dishes. In turn, we use some of the ingredients PARCS creates. Recently for example, we had a PARCS carrot kimchi and smoked almond pastry on our bakery menu.

 Our decision to offer Market Lane coffee at Antara was also driven by our values as a business. One of the key things we wanted Antara to encapsulate is Melbourne – in our choice of producers, suppliers, dining culture and cuisine. Market Lane is perhaps the specialty coffee roaster that best represents our city. But beyond just being a quality roaster, we were also drawn to the company’s values – the aspects of sustainability and ethical sourcing, the connection with the growers and their stories, what Market Lane stands for as a trusted and reputed brand. All of the above spoke to us in deciding who we’d like to work with for Antara.



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