Food at The Free Trade Inn


Newcastle’s Free Trade Inn is viewed as one of the best boozers in the city, especially with the fantastic views of the Tyne its beer garden affords. It was also Mr. Canny’s local before we started living in sin, so he’s particularly fond of it too. Even on a grey day, you can’t help but marvel at that panorama.image

There’s a resident cat, named Craig David. You’ll usually find him asleep on top of the free jukebox, which is probably one of the warmest spots in the pub. image

We ventured down on Sunday as we discovered Parmstar were hosting a pop-up there. I’d been following on Twitter and Instagram and lusting after their delicious parmos for quite some time, but this was the first opportunity to encounter them I’d had. You see, with the recent switch to all things veggie in the family I figured most of my street food cravings would no longer be sated. image

Serving up Teesside’s much loved cheese-topped chicken at a number of festivals and markets, John and Lisa have created buzzworthy grub. I was surprised to learn that a veggie Parmo was available, and from time to time they also have a vegan substitute on offer. This pleased us greatly 🙂 Because of issues sourcing vegan cheese, I took along our own so Mr. Canny could also get in on the action.


Able to drink Almasty’s IPA, Mr. Canny got a pint while I had a lovely chat with the pair. Having been involved in the London food scene, they moved up North to start Parmstar. Serving panko crumbed chicken Parmos and Parmas – one is topped with bechamel and cheese; the other tomato sauce, ham and cheese – this is the ultimate ‘dirty’ food. Many a time I ordered one stumbling home from a pub, but none were as good as the ones I’ve eaten in Middlesbrough.


A vegan Parmo!

Vegetarians had a choice between an aubergine or mushroom ‘schnitzel’, served with pickled red cabbage on an Oliva’s Bakery brioche bun. Vegan-friendly buns were available, which meant Mr. Canny was able to try both options, sans the homemade bechamel sauce. In fact, he loved them so much he wanted thirds and fourths, but I told him it was sheer greed!


The Teen and I were both unanimous in our praise of the aubergine, and the bun was sturdy enough not to collapse under all that delicious cheese. I was surprised that the schnitzel wasn’t greasy, which is what I’ve encountered historically with kebab shop Parmos. Next time they’re in the Toon you must pay them a visit! Parmstar have elevated the art of veganising food to another level with this adaptation of the classic.

imageHaving long supported local street food traders, The Free Trade are also hosting Canny Food favourites Scream For Pizza and The Grindhouse today (Wednesday 25th May) and Monday (30th). It’s worth following them on Twitter, if you don’t already do so, to see who will be ‘popping up’ next.


Credit: The Grindhouse Newcastle Instagram

Thanks for reading,

Pip x

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