REVIEW: Liberty Brown, Hylton Retail Park, Sunderland

Liberty Brown, Pizza House, Bar and Grill at Hylton Retail park.

Liberty Brown, Pizza House, Bar and Grill at Hylton Retail park.

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It’s easy to forget about Liberty Brown when looking for a place to eat.

Slap bang in the centre of Hylton Riverside, it’s a little out of the way for a night-time venue. However, with plenty of parking, a laid-back family atmosphere and a style that’s a little quirkier than some of the more bland restaurants in the city, there’s enough to lure you to this culinary corner.

I hadn’t been since the restaurant first opened and I’ve heard mixed reports since, with some bemoaning the food and others raving about the choice of cocktails and drinks.

Credit where credit’s due, my experience was perfectly pleasurable.

I visited post Echo Towers on a Wednesday night and the place was half full with families and children who playing with kids’ activities, and people drifting over from the nearby hotel.

Service was friendly, maybe even a little too friendly if there is such a thing, and I must have been asked by about five different staff if I’d like a drink while I waited for my friend.

I’d ordered after the first person asked and went for a black raspberry mojito, which was fresh, flavoursome and refreshing and at £4.95 was considerably cheaper than elsewhere.

The drinks here are pretty impressive. Like the group’s sister venues in Newcastle, which include the super popular As You Like It in Jesmond, there’s a vast choice of cocktails, champagnes, wines and beers, including Duvel, Leffe and Hobgoblin, priced from £3.50.

After my friend arrived we got down to the serious business of choosing our food. There’s a satisfying choice on offer ranging from the basic pizza (from £5.50) and pasta options to more quirky additions such as harissa spiced grilled halloumi skewers (£12.95).

To start we shared a board of flatbreads with olives, hummus, tzatziki and chilli cream cheese dips.

It was a more than decent size for £7.95 and almost filled us up. The chilli cream cheese dip was the first to be devoured. It was delicious: light and creamy with just the right amount of chilli to give it a bit of a kick.

My prawn linguini was another success. There were plenty of plump king prawns and the sauce wasn’t too rich which allowed the flavour of the seafood and peppery rocket to blend nicely with the pasta.

We were asked many times if we were enjoying our meal and asked twice for our feedback on a form. I can’t grumble too much, but being assigned one staff member per table would have done the trick I’m sure.