There’s been a lot of hype around Stack Newcastle, the shipping container village situated in the hallowed ground of the old Odeon on Pilgrim Street. There’s also been a bit of negativity, pitting this container creation against the amazing Gateshead version, By The River Brew Co., as if a city is only allowed one unique dining/social concept made out of containers. Yawn. So to make up our own mind on Stack, we sent the lovely Zoe Christopher, Scran on the Tyne’s newest recruit, to see if it’s worth rating or slating. Here’s her verdict…
Stack is described as ‘a creative social hub for entertainment, culture, work and play…’, there are restaurants and bars aplenty, along with shops selling all manner of things (including an amazing florist!) and randomly, a barbers. When the OH and I visited one rainy Sunday afternoon it was ALL about the food and drink, and (spoiler alert) it turned out to be everything we hoped for and more.
After our recent trip to Singapore, we thought we would sample the many Asian delights that Stack has to offer as a start. Three important things to note:
– You may need to be rolled from the venue due to over indulgence
– You will get food envy from all that pass you
– You will fantasise about the food you ate and be constantly plotting your next visit
Our first choice was the dim sum aficionados, Lost and Found Social, which I’d researched in quite some depth prior to our visit. We wanted to try EVERYTHING. Dumplings are our collective favourite Asian dish, so we were ecstatic when we found out that these guys were taking residence.
As we were going to try a few places, we erred on the side of conservative and decided to share the pork and prawn dumplings, priced at £6.50. Four chunky dumplings were presented to us, a great size for sharing, but I could have easily managed these to myself – and I will do next time! The dumplings were soft on top, crisp underneath and came with a fabulous peanut sauce with a bit of heat from their signature chilli oil (which you can buy by the jar!). I was almost tempted to re-mortgage my house and give them all my money, they were that good.
Admittedly, they’re on the expensive side. £6+ for four dumplings isn’t cheap, especially when there’s the Grainger Market just around the corner serving authentic Chinese dumplings for a snip of the price. That said, there’s clear attention to detail and a lot of creativity gone into the production of these little dim sum delights, so it’s worth making the exception on cost just to give yourself a proper treat. I think so, anyway.
Also on the menu were chicken dumplings, £6.50, and vegan dumplings with sriracha mayo. Their Lotus Roots Tempura (£3.50 and vegan friendly!) also look interesting, so I may have to have a go of those next time.
After we managed to drag ourselves away from the dumplings, we went round the corner to Stixs, a Korean-style fried chicken eatery. We were unsure what to get as the menu was quite some size and included everything from Ramen to Poke Bowls, so asked for advice and were told that we NEEDED to have the Korean Crispy chicken wings (£5.80 for 5 pieces), which were acclaimed to be “finger-licking good” (not sure where they got that catch-phrase!), along with the very moreish Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowl.
I’ll start with the chicken wings. Now I’m not normally a big chicken on the bone girl, but the OH absolutely inhales them and considers himself a wing connoisseur. I have to say, the crispy chilli coating was amazing. Sticky, tangy and so, so crispy. They were some size too! Whilst I only had one, the OH devoured the rest and he was certainly licking his fingers by the end, as predicted.
Next, the Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowl. Very nice, but not a patch on the wings in terms of flavour. It was huge for the £6.50 that we paid for it, so great value for money in comparison to say, the dumplings, but would I be rushing back for another? Probably not. Although perhaps we had just been spoiled from the rice bowls served in Singapore.
After a few (moderately priced) glasses of wine and plenty of food, we had a small break and enjoyed the live music being played on the ground level. The sun came out, and although we were happy being under cover upstairs, there were plenty basking in the sunshine outside in the main communal space. I just wish this had been open earlier to make the most of our fabulous summer!
Our final stop was a container with a title that had us chuckling to ourselves. Tucked around a corner at the far end was ‘Sushi Me Rollin’, who aim to put the fun back into fine dining with, you guessed it, sushi. I had read before we went that the owners of this establishment are previous Head Chef of Aveika, Kurt Toulson, along with previous Sous Chefs of the prestigious Peace and Loaf in Jesmond; Simon Whitehead and Hugo Embleton-Black. Being obsessed with both venues, I couldn’t wait to try.
We were going to go with the Chef’s Selection which was 30 pieces for £40, but instead decided to go for the half portion which was £22. They do have the option to make your own, Subway style, but we trusted these guys to give us their best.
The freshly made sushi only took around 10 minutes to arrive and came beautifully presented. The dish comprised of a mixture Uramaki, Nigri, Sashimi and Maki. Our favourite was the chicken katsu uramaki, and I’d probably be tempted to get that as a standalone plate next time – so, so good. As you can see, the presentation is outstanding, and I’m delighted to confirm that what you see is matched by what you taste – a sensation.
The whole menu is very reasonably priced, especially for the quality and quantity you get. None of it disappointed and I’ll certainly be back! A true Stack highlight.
Overall, our whole experience of Stack was really enjoyable. It’s one of those places that if you can’t decide where you want to go and don’t want to commit to one restaurant, you can’t go wrong as there’s something for everyone. It’s equally great just for drinks, coffee and hanging out with friends, and it would make a great venue for a date as there’s plenty to see!
Yes, we have two container villages in Newcastle/Gateshead and no, they don’t need to be pitted against each other. Both are fantastic additions to the city and we should be celebrating them equally.
We personally can’t wait to come back when Hadrian’s Tipi returns this festive season. Sitting by the fire pits with a glass of mulled wine just screams Christmas to us, and now with all of this amazing food, it’s going to be the star on top of the tree!
Stack Newcastle is situated on the corner of Pilgrim and New Bridge Street West, or as we all know it, the old Odeon site. For more information on this fantastic addition to the city centre, head over to the website. All food and drink mentioned in this review was paid for by ourselves.