Amore, Roker, Sunderland

Amore restaurant at the Harbour View, Roker.
Amore restaurant at the Harbour View, Roker.
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It’s always a shame to see a business leave the struggling city centre.

However, after re-locating from its base in Tavistock Place, Amore is now bringing its Italian flavour to a seafront watering hole.

The upstairs of the Harbour View in Roker has been transformed into the restaurant’s new home.

Much has been done to stamp the Amore brand on the pub, including Rat Pack images adorning the walls and a black and red colour scheme.

Local graffiti artist Frank Styles, who livened up the walls of the original basement-set Amore, has also been hard at work, creating mural scenes of Roker landmarks.

It all helps to make, what wasn’t an obvious change of location, work.

Instead of sitting in an extension to the Harbour, which is how I envisaged the relocation, the owners have managed to make it feel as though the restaurant has its own identity.

The venue is smaller than its predecessor and it feels more “cosy” but, on the plus side, large windows offer panoramic views over Roker and the marina, as opposed to the brick walls in Tavistock Place.

There are, of course, a number of other Italian restaurants along the seafront, but Amore offers something other than the usual pizza/pasta option – although those staples are there for those after a cheaper option.

To start, I chose the pommadora formaggio (£4.45), one of a handful of vegetarian options on the starters menu.

It was a prettily-presented dish consisting of two roasted tomatoes which were plump with a moreish goats cheese stuffing. Delicate cubes of beetroot proved to be a perfect accompaniment, despite the fact I’m not usually the greatest fan of this vegetable.

Special mention must also go to the free bread we had while choosing our menu choices.

Instead of the tasteless breadsticks favoured by other Italian eateries, we were treated to fresh-out-the oven rosemary bread, with a sprinkling of rock salt which was packed with flavour, a great touch.

Mains-wise, you can choose from a selection of standard Italian offerings such as pastas and risottos – which mostly come in around the £8/£9 mark – as well as dishes infused with Asian flavours such as seabass poached in coconut milk and marinated in Asian spices (£18.95).

I chose from the specials menu for my main and didn’t have to wait too long before I was tucking into my choice of seabass, king prawns and spaghetti (£15.95).

My only quibble is that it could have done with a bit less spaghetti and more seabass, but it was a fusion of delicate flavours that blended well to create one delicious dish.

The pasta was encased in just the right amount of olive oil dressing to give it an authentically-Italian slipperiness, without being too greasy – my pet hate.

Thanks to the oodles of noodles I felt stuffed after my meal, or else I would have shoehorned in a dessert platter to share, which I was eye-balling on another table.

Amore isn’t always the cheapest of Italian restaurants, depending on your choice of dish.

But if you’re visiting on Tuesday or Wednesday night, you can pick up a purse-friendly offer of a two-course meal and a glass of wine for £10 per person.

Or, on Sundays, from 5pm-8pm, you can take advantage of a three course meal for £10.

Katy Wheeler