In recent years, office blocks, shops, bars and restaurants created using upcycled shipping containers have been springing up all over the UK, often situated on what were previously derelict areas of land.
Widely available and easily portable, these steel boxes can be assembled in many different configurations; from single-unit spaces to multi-stacked structures. Indeed there are even ‘container villages’ like Cargo in Bristol and Boxpark in Shoreditch: contemporary shopping and dining destinations made entirely from refitted shipping containers.
Eye-catching, easily modified and extremely strong, repurposed containers are an increasingly attractive alternative to traditional bricks and mortar, particularly to eco-conscious – and often independent – restaurateurs looking for a sustainable, economically viable solution to the problem of high rents and limited space in city centres.
Here is our pick of the best shipping container restaurants listed in the Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland 2020:
Träkol, Newcastle upon Tyne
One of the highlights of Newcastle’s dynamic food scene is this popular restaurant, located in a shipping container community in the shadow of the iconic Tyne Bridge. Expect craft beers – brewed onsite in their microbrewery – hearty portions and bold flavours; ingredient-led menus offer feasting dishes and small plates, with a focus on nose-to-tail eating and cooking over fire.
Set on the ground floor of a three-storey container stack just out of the city centre, this restaurant has a simple, fun feel. The keen young chef-owner is influenced by the cooking of Scandinavia, but also incorporates Asian and British influences into his dishes. Foraging plays a part in the kitchen’s ethos; not only in the food but also in their homemade cordials and juices.
Set on the first floor of Wapping Wharf’s Cargo complex, this friendly restaurant has a laid-back style and a compact, intimate feel. The experienced chef offers a concise menu of colourful, flavour-packed dishes influenced by local produce, while surprise tasting menus and wine flights are available at the four-seater kitchen counter. Their panna cotta has a well-deserved reputation!
Also to be found in Bristol’s Wapping Wharf development is this 20-seater restaurant, aptly named after the empty weight of a shipping container. They serve a set four course menu of creative, carefully prepared, seasonally inspired dishes – with cocktails and wines to match – and the friendly young team make everyone feel welcome with their chatty, well-paced service.
Root is another Michelin-recommended Wapping Wharf restaurant – occupying five first floor shipping containers – but what makes this restaurant a little different is its focus on locally sourced vegetables, with meat and fish taking a backseat. The well-priced, seasonally influenced small plates are made for sharing and, whilst they may look simple, they are packed with flavour.
For a list of all the New Star Distinctions and Award Winners for 2020 click here
For all UK Star listings click here
For all Republic of Ireland Star listings click here
For all Bib Gourmand listings in the UK & Ireland click here