Lincolnshire Pride

Antlers Restaurant at The White Hart, Lincoln

Now open to diners at The White Hart on Bailgate, Antlers Restaurant is the hotel’s new flagship à la carte dining option. It’s phenomenal, and all of our expectations have been surpassed!

Pan Seared Duck Breast, celeriac, cherries, confit leg croquette, £24.95.

Goodness me. I was already expecting something pretty good from Antlers, the newly-opened restaurant within The White Hart on Bailgate. Somehow I could just feel it in my cutlery: this was going to be a really great new dining room. 

But even I was taken aback by just how great Lincoln’s newest restaurant has turned out to be. The venerable hotel has been given a comprehensive refurbishment by Andrew Long, who purchased it in July 2022. A significant investment both in capital and in time is seen in every aspect of the building – which dates back to 1650 and carries a Grade II listing –  redesigned, reimagined, reinvented. 

Take all of the challenges associated with breathing new life into an old building, then scale up that project to the size of The White Hart with its 49 bedrooms, and finally add the necessity to be fit for purpose as a busy hotel. 

It’s a brave team which embarks on such a project, but The White Hart opened in November to finally reveal its Colonnade Cocktail Lounge with its sophisticated bar menu, the adjacent Gibson Bar and its newly designed bedrooms. 

A few weeks later, its new à la carte restaurant, Antlers, also opened and is now available for both hotel guests and local residents alike.

Happily, The White Hart has retained its revolving door, and welcoming guests into the hotel is a dapper chap in a bowler hat and a long coat, a smart touch redolent of the finest London-based restaurants.

Straight ahead of the entrance, Colonnade offers excellent daytime dining, running from 11am-9.30pm, and comprising tapas-style small plates, seasonal salads, sharing platters. hot sandwiches and its proper stonebaked pizzas, as well as homemade cakes.

Antlers is available for lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, with a very well-designed menu comprising pre-starters, six starters, five main course options plus four classics (e.g.: a really good house burger and haddock & chips) plus salads and grill options.

With each dish that head chef Chris Punter and his brigade presented, expectation and anticipation gave way to excitation and appreciation. 

Chris works alongside sous chefs Matt Porada, Thadi Crook, and Gareth Lightfoot. The team’s dishes are dazzling in appearance, but more importantly they’re beautifully judged, well-balanced, and they taste superb.

“We’ve been really lucky,”says Chris. “We all heard about the hotel being under new ownership in July 2022 and the refurbishment was announced just before Christmas. 

We were all enfranchised and had lots of input, especially in the design of the kitchen, which is all new and brilliantly equipped.”

“I was tasked with working with the team to create a menu that reflected the new-look White Hart and we all wanted to create a modern British dining experience that was timeless, but one that reflects Lincolnshire’s food culture and its best local suppliers.”

The restaurant’s pork is sourced from Redhill Farm on the Bailgate, Wards of Ruskington and Fosters on Monks Road. Fish is from Grimsby’s Sailbrand. Lincoln’s artisan bakery Vines provides sourdough, and vegetables are from Lincolnshire fields where possible.

The restaurant looks fantastic with its parquet flooring, a large skylight which will cast natural light on the dining room as the nights draw out, and some comfortable seating, a combination of tables for two, a private dining room for up to 14 and banquette seating in an oxblood-coloured leather. 

I did notice – and appreciate – proper flowers on the tables; orchids and crimson roses with pussy willow. Artificial flowers on tables are a huge turn-off for me: there’s something really begrudging about them, constituting  an acknowledgment that effort is required  but with a lack of will. Restauranteurs: either do it properly or don’t bother. Happily, it’s done properly here.

Local floral designer Chambers Florist on Lincoln’s Sincil Street provides beautiful (and real) flowers which really do serve to underwrite the authenticity of the feel and experience the restaurant is keen to establish.

Opening just before Christmas, the restaurant has been packed with diners ever since and it’s telling that despite Chris’s predictions as to which dishes will be big sellers, every option on the menu has proven to be just as popular.

To our mind though, restaurant highlights include our crispy pork belly starter and a pan-seared duck breast. We will, however, also draw your attention towards Chris’s individual beef Wellington dish served with pommes purée and a bordelaise sauce with its silky demi-glace finish. 

It does command a bit of a premium over other main course options, but it’s a classic dining option so rarely found on restaurant menus given that it relies on a tenderloin fillet and involves some fiddly preparation.

Desserts? A physicist I am not, but I gather that the centre of a black hole is considered the densest phenomenon in the universe – about two quadrillion grams of matter per cubic cm according to Google. 

That’s about the same concentration of cocoa in Chris’s malt chocolate tart, it’s the most chocolate I’ve ever tasted in a single dessert and all the better for it. I must confess that immediately after the chocolate tart I also polished off the banana soufflé which was presented to the camera. It’s a brave kitchen team that risks making a soufflé for a photoshoot, given the dish’s tendency to sink, but they did and it was absolutely delicious.

Each plate looks phenomenal, but like the restaurant itself, there’s true substance behind each one, in addition to their style. Chris says his philosophy is to only incorporate three or four elements to a dish, with a key ingredient acting as an ambassador and other elements amplifying – not overpowering – the dish with different flavours and textures, resulting in fussiness.

With immediate effect, Antlers Restaurant at The White Hart becomes one of the city’s best restaurants. The place looks fantastic, which is the least you’d expect from such a comprehensive refurbishment, but the restaurant’s provision of food is also absolutely flawless, a great  credit to the kitchen team. Antlers is a dining room that’s admirably commensurate with the rest of the hotel. It’s definitely recommended, so visit soon and enjoy every second!

Antlers Restaurant at The White Hart, Lincoln


Crispy Pork Belly, blackberry, apple, celeriac £8.50.
Pan Fried Pigeon, caramelised chicory, carrot & chocolate £8.50.
Crab Pâté, homemade crumpets, preserved lemon, watercress £8.50.

À la carte mains

Porter Braised Short Rib, celeriac mash, horseradish dumpling, caramelised cipollini, roast baby carrot £23.50.
Pan Seared Duck Breast, celeriac, cherries, confit leg croquette £24.95.
Beef Wellington, pommes purée, roast baby veg, bordelaise £39.95.


House Burger, truffle gouda, onion jam, rocket, milk bun, tempura pickle, skin on fries £18.95.
Battered Haddock, triple cooked chips, pea puree, charred lemon, homemade tartar sauce £16.95.


Heritage Carrot & Spelt, watercress, spinach, dukkah, preserved lemon, yoghurt dressing, grilled halloumi £14.95.


8oz Fillet Steak £35.95.
8oz Sirloin Steak £28.
8oz Ribeye Steak £28.
Roasted vine cherry tomatoes, field mushroom, twice cooked chips, watercress. Sauces Truffle Bearnaise, Brandy Peppercorn, Smoked Garlic & Bone Marrow butter.


Banana Soufflé, toffee ice cream, banana bread £8.50.
Pear Tart Tatin, brandy ice-cream £8.50.
Malt Chocolate Tart, Guanaja, marshmallow, muscovado £9.

NB: This is a sample menu, and featured dishes are subject to availability and change.

Antlers Restaurant at The White Hart, Lincoln

The Pitch: “Newly refurbished restaurant in The White Hart Hotel; an elegant place to stay, eat and celebrate in the heart of historic Uphill Lincoln.”
Antlers serves lunch from noon-3pm (12.30pm Sunday); dinner 6pm-9.30pm. Colonnade bar open seven days a week from 11am, serving food until 9.30pm.
The White Hart Hotel, Bailgate, Lincoln LN1 3AR. Call 01522 526222 or see

Malt Chocolate Tart, Guanaja, toasted marshmallow, muscovado £9.