Amore2, Ashbrooke Sports Ground, Sunderland

Owner Kam Chera, left, and Diego Mana, manager at the new Amore2 restaurant at Ashbrooke Sports Ground

Owner Kam Chera, left, and Diego Mana, manager at the new Amore2 restaurant at Ashbrooke Sports Ground

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I’VE always been a little bit in love with Amore in Tavistock Place thanks to its top-notch food and laid-back sophistication.

However, it looks like there’s a new contender for my heart.

Amore2 has all its big brother’s traits, plus cracking views over Ashbrooke Sports Ground coupled with an intimate setting.

The owners of Amore went out on a limb by creating a sister restaurant in the sports club’s eaterie, formerly known as The View, but it’s a gamble that seems to be paying off.

Amore2 is fast gaining a loyal following in a suburb of Sunderland that isn’t exactly awash with restaurants.

Echo chum Cara and I decided to put it to the test ourselves.

On a chilly evening, we were given a very warm welcome as we were guided to a table with a view.

Candles were lit and, along with the chilled music playing in the background, it all felt very romantic – had we not been on a mate date.

The menu is the same as the original Amore, which is still staying open, so we were already familiar with its taste bud treasure trove of pizzas, pasta, chicken and steak dishes.

Starters-wise, I went with a firm favourite of mine – caprese – mozzarella and tomato with basil pesto oil and pine nuts (£4.45).

It was presented slightly differently to how I’ve had it at the original Amore, but it was still beautifully done. The salad in particular was exceptional, I’m not sure how exactly they had prepared it, but it tasted zingy, fresh and ever so moreish.

Cara’s starter was on the more expensive side at £7.95, but she assures me the gamberoni inferno was a feisty number, consisting of plump prawns in a chilli sauce, which was worth the extra pennies.

I’ve long been a fan of Amore’s seafood risotto, but, feeling adventurous, and in fresh receipt of my wages, I decided to break from tradition and order from the steak section of the menu.

Choices include steak pan-fried with onion rings, with a green peppercorn sauce and with brandy, white wine and cream, but it was the grand-sounding rossini which caught my eye.

At £20.96, it was the most expensive menu on the dish, but for my money I was presented with a delectable-looking fillet steak served on a toasted crouton, topped with pate and smothered in a rich Marsala wine sauce.

The mixture of steak, creamy pate and sweet sauce is not something I would have thought of putting together, but it was simply divine and if I’m feeling flush it’s definitely something I would order again, and again, and again.

In a bid to be healthy, Cara ordered one of the lighter dishes – tuna steak flambé with Pernod and a provenzale sauce. She was served with a large portion of perfectly tender tuna, and cooked vegetables, for her £15.95.

We were loathe to leave our candlelit cosy corner which was complemented by super friendly service from our waiters.

After a second bottle of wine, we ended up being the last customers left, but we’d enjoyed ourselves so much the time had flown by – that’s Amore.

Katy Wheeler

Twitter: sunechokaty