I have been wanting to dine at Träkol since the opening of Gateshead’s very own container village in 2018. But when it made Jay Rayner’s list of 10 must-eat places across the UK, I pestered Dan until he booked it for my birthday.
I had high expectations. Not just because it had caught the eye of my second favourite food critic, but because I’d heard endless good reports from anyone who’d visited.
And I wasn’t disappointed…
By the River Brew Co.
Träkol is located within the new container community, By the River Brew Co., which is nestled under the iconic Tyne Bridge on the Gateshead side of the water. A short walk from Newcastle’s quayside and the lovely string of bars along it, it’s the perfect location for an afternoon of food and drinks.
Neighbouring the restaurant, there’s a Micro Brewery and Tap Room that serves up a pretty extensive list of craft beers and lagers as well as the Backyard Bikeshop; a coffee and brunch spot by day and cocktail bar by night.
If the weather isn’t playing silly buggers, you can sit outside and take advantage of the glorious views of the bridge and river, which is exactly what we did.
On a weekend, the venue also hosts the HWKRMRKT – a vibrant gathering of North East street food vendors including Papa Ganoush, Fire and Dough and Dabbawal. The street food market runs every weekend from early Spring to late Autumn.
Träkol is an open fire restaurant housed at the far end of the shipping units. Passionate about nose to tail cooking and seasonal ingredients, their overarching concept is to bring primitive outdoor cooking, indoors.
The restaurant is that wonderfully rusty, industrial vibe with lots of metal, bare wood and leather. Very much reflecting their style of food; natural, simple, honest yet effective.
You order your drinks from the same menu provided to you at the Tap Room, so if you had a few drinks by the river before your reservation like us, you’ll be well acquainted.
The food menu is inventive and pretty unique. We’d been slavering over it for weeks (obviously), so we were 99% sure about what we were going for when we sat down.
To start, we ordered the Crispy Pig Tails (£3.50) and the Reuben Fritters (£3.50).
The pig tails were like posh pork scratchings, seasoned with Chinese spice. There were slightly too many of them for me – it was a big portion. But what I had, I really enjoyed.
The fritters, however, were the winner. Bonbons of salt beef, deep fried with French mustard and pickles. There wasn’t enough of this one!
For the main event, I ordered the Asado Duck (£20) and Dan the North Sea Hake (£26). He also ordered his trademark side of fries (£3)…
Both dishes were utterly incredible.
The duck was beautifully cooked; tender meat wrapped in crispy skin. The accompaniments of peas, gem lettuce, green peppercorns subtly complimented the meat leaving it to be the star of the show.
Dan’s hake was also a melt in your mouth occasion. His main dish came with peas, broad beans and Iberico Lardo, a kind of charcuterie.
Even the fries were bloody good.
We decided to share a dessert, as we usually do, and opted for a sort of deconstructed cheesecake affair. Gently roasted strawberries, cheesecake crime topped with toasted oats and almonds.
Exactly my kind of dessert. Elegant, yet simple, it was really refreshing and not too heavy on our tummies. I loved the variation in textures from this little number.
I was so pleased to have finally experienced Träkol, but if I was to return, I’d get a variation of the snacks and starters to try. Sitting between £3.00 and £7.00 per dish, I wish we’d have shared 3 or 4 before the main event.
Maybe then, Dan wouldn’t order his compulsory portion of chips either.
Everything else was perfect though. And if you appreciate good food, that is perhaps airs on the side of adventurous, I’d absolutely recommend you visit.
Now, where to next?
Lots of love, LB x