Best food in Gateshead? Review of Träkol as it dishes up food with flair

You know a meal is good when you’re all still talking about it the next day.

Such was the case on our group chat after a Saturday night out at Träkol.

We’d booked well advance for a birthday night out, and it’s best to do so at this riverside restaurant that’s got everyone talking – with good reason. All too often restaurant reviews can be laced with hyperbole, but this is a place that’s very deserving of the hype and the national plaudits, including a mention in the Michelin Guide 2022.

First off, there’s the setting in the shadow of the famous Tyne Bridge within the By The River Brew shipping container complex, which offers a laidback atmosphere as you sup your pints with views of the river as it meanders through Newcastle and Gateshead. (It’s worth noting, you don’t need to book for the tap terrace if you’re just after al fresco drinks)

Träkol, By The River Brew, Gateshead Quayside

Through to the restaurant, there’s a Scandi, stripped back aesthetic that blends well with the arching lines of the faded green steel bridge outside. Think stripped back, natural tables, satisfyingly chunky pottery plates, low lighting, parquet flooring and windows into the kitchen where you can see the magic happening and the flickering flames of the charcoal grill. (The name Träkol is Swedish for charcoal)

The menu is informed by the seasons, so changes regularly, and is a kaleidoscopic blend of small plates and feasting plates fit for vikings including half a pigs’ head, chop and pork belly, black pudding, sauerkraut and apple salad (£75).

On our visit, the menu included crispy pigs tails with mission spice (£5); Lindisfarne oysters topped with chilli vinegar or Montgomery’s Cheddar and beef garum (£4); malt glazed shiitakes with ash baked beetroots, hazelnut butter and chives (£9); grilled mackerel, courgette, pickled mussel and sea vegetable salad (£22); 400g aged sirloin on the bone, roasted bone marrow and fried fermented potatoes (£34) and more.

We chose a pick ‘n’ mix for the table. Hard to pick a favourite, but the octopus and lobster ceviche with tomatoes, cucumber, mint and jalapeño (£15) was an intoxicating medley of flavours: vibrant, fresh and ever so moreish.

The restaurant is part of the shipping container complex beneath the Tyne Bridge

The malt glazed shiitakes with ash baked beetroots, hazelnut butter and chives was another example of great produce used to great effect, where the natural flavours are given room to shine.

Even the humble side dishes held their own. I don’t think the rest of the table got a look in as I devoured the padron peppers (£4.50) and fried fermented potatoes (£4.50).

Special mention too for the sourdough, served with a whipped herb butter I could have eaten by the spoonful (£4.50). It’s the kind of bread good enough to tear into without any gussying up, but I slathered it in the butter nonetheless.

Fancy trying some at home? The bread is made by Sunderland bakery Bread&, based at The BIC, Hylton Riverside, who supply to some of top restaurants and cafes in the area. Make sure to visit their artisan bakery shop from 12noon to 2.30pm Wednesday to Friday where you can pick up some of their freshly-baked treats.

Selection of small plates and sides

To echo the quality of the food, our server was attentive (but not too in your face) and really knowledgeable of the dishes she was serving.

This is imaginative, carefully thought-out stuff you don’t find at a bog standard restaurant.

If you want an example of the freshness, you need only look out of the window to the kitchen garden where many of the vegetables and herbs for your dishes are grown – as food miles go, you can’t get shorter than that.

It’s all part of the restaurants drive to dig deeper into sustainability and is testament to the thought and passion that goes into the menu.

Octopus and lobster ceviche with tomatoes, cucumber, mint and jalapeño

Drinks follow suit. By The River Brew was founded by the team behind the esteemed Wylam Brewery, so you know you’re onto a winner with the tipples.

There’s an on site micro brewery for quality keg and guest cask options from the taproom, as well as a good selection of wines and spirits.

Our choice of a dry, but full-bodied, Riesling (£34) complemented our dishes well and we rounded of the night with a round of cocktails. Most come in around the £10 mark and include a classy negroni and a margarita that really packed a salty punch.

*Regular service hours are: Lunch: Saturday 12pm to 3pm (last sitting for food 2pm), Dinner: Wednesday to Saturday 5:30pm to 10pm (last sitting for food 8.45pm) and Sundays: 12pm to 6pm (last sitting for food 4:45pm)

The restaurant has a stripped back aesthetic
Malt glazed shiitakes with ash baked beetroots, hazelnut butter and chives