Situated on the site previously occupied by Hadrian’s Tipi comes Newcastle’s newest hipster venue. Stack is home to a number of independent eateries, as well as hosting a range of start-ups selling everything from bamboo toothbrushes to dog food. Having found that its predecessor not particularly vegan-friendly, I was intrigued to see whether Stack would be any different.
The concept is similar to that of By The River Brew’s HWKRMRKT but also features retail outlets amongst its permanent food vendors. The outdoor central area has communal seating and in the winter will be warmed with heat lamps. Beverages are served by You Only Live Once and other bars dotted around this courtyard.
The excitement for local vegans came when Hungry Vegan announced its opening in this premier location. Serving up dairy, meat and egg-free take away snacks and lunches, this new business is also stocking a small selection of grocery items. We ordered Nachos and a Hot Dog to share while taking away a box of cakes for later on. It is worth noting Hungry Vegan don’t accept card payments at this current time so was caught out after spending £23 on our lunch.
I felt the Nachos were cheese-heavy, not necessarily a good thing with the dairy-free variety if you find it like Marmite. I was also a bit disappointed by the bun used for the hot dog too, which was dry and fell to pieces. I have seen other people raving about Hungry Vegan so I can only deduce my experience was a one-off. I want to see vegan businesses thrive, naturally, but can’t blithely bestow praise just because it is vegan. I can only write about what we encountered on the day.
I felt it was worth wandering round and see what other units had on offer. The Bake One have recently opened their doors and have vegan-friendly falafel available, while Lost & Found Social (an offshoot of the wonderfully quirky Heaton cocktail bar) also have SFV vegetable dumplings and lotus root. Los Cocos were vague about what could be adapted for those who are dairy-free as many dishes feature cheese. I was told that their refried beans, salsa and tortilla chips were ok, and it may be possible to request the Corn on a Stick without butter.
I was most impressed, however, with Sushi Me Rollin’, a quirky little Sushi bar run by alumni from the likes of Peace & Loaf. Proudly displayed on the menu were vegan options and they spoke passionately about producing maki that didn’t contain the traditional fish filling. As we wanted to try everything a platter seemed like the best option, but having just eaten we knew it would be too much food.
The guys said they’d put together a selection of 8 pieces for us which we were charged £9. It was presented beautifully and the flavour combinations worked well. My favourite was the slightly sweet Nigiri. The beauty of ‘picky’ food like this is that Dinky could try different tastes and textures without the pressure to eat a whole meal. We’d definitely recommend a visit.
For those interested in cruelty free beauty a visit to The Cure Lab for a manicure and pedicure. All the products used are suitable for vegans, so they are one of the only salons in Newcastle to perform such a service. I was happy to see Uncaptive in a permanent home having met the owners previously at vegan festivals. The range of bamboo t-shirts, recycled denim jeans and environmentally friendly toothbrushes are sure to be a hit with those who are conscious about their footprint. Also worthy of note is For The Love of the North, a boutique stocking quirky gifts and prints from North East based artists, and there’s also a yoga studio housed in a container.
To see a selection of start-ups being given the opportunity to showcase their wares in a prime city centre location is quite a coup for the likes of Uncaptive and we wish them every success. Both By The River Brew and Stack are great additions to the area and show how innovative us Geordies are in terms of repurposing and redeveloping derelict sites.
Thanks for reading,