New Sunderland tapas restaurant offers a taste of Spain and Portugal

NEW VENTURE: Kam Chera, front, with chefs Andrew Froud and Martin Bien.
NEW VENTURE: Kam Chera, front, with chefs Andrew Froud and Martin Bien.
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A BUSINESSMAN is hoping to boost trade at the seafront with a unique new restaurant.

El’Amor is the first dedicated Spanish and Portuguese tapas restaurant in Sunderland.

I think Roker has the potential to be like Tynemouth, with a circuit of upmarket bars and restaurants.

Kam Chera, owner, El’Amor

It has opened in the former Amore restaurant above the Harbour View pub and is the brainchild of Amore Group owner Kam Chera.

After seeing the success of his Funky Indian tapas restaurant in the city centre, he decided to bring a new flavour to Roker.

Kam, who opened Amore on the site two years ago, while also owning Amore at Ashbrooke Sports Club, said: “We moved the Amore model over here after closing the city centre Italian restaurant, but it maybe wasn’t right for this area.

“Though our other Amore in Ashbrooke works well, there are 14 restaurants in Roker and Seaburn, and 10 of those are Italian.”

He added: “Amore wasn’t struggling here, but we took the strategy that we did with Funky Indian, which is to do something totally different.”

Kam believes it will complement new additions to the seafront which include Beach House, So Wok and Downey’s in the Pier Point development and Poetic License and Italian Farmhouse at the Roker Hotel.

“I think Roker has the potential to be like Tynemouth, with a circuit of upmarket bars and restaurants,” he said.

Kam’s enlisted the help of executive chef Sunil Kaurar, who’s worked at Las Iguanas in Newcastle and in top hotels in India.

“Sunil has trained in the top restaurants in India,” he explained. “The concept of tapas is very familiar to him as he’s from Goa, where food has been very influenced by Portuguese styles of cooking.

“He has knowledge of both East meets West flavours, a connection which really adds variety to the menu.”

Decor-wise, he says diners can also expect a change.

“We closed for a week to refurbish it. It’s more retro and more inviting to everyone. I think Amore was a bit too formal for a residential area, above a pub.

“People don’t want to feel like they have to get dressed up, like they would to visit a city centre restaurant.”

Foods on offer include paella, grilled foods and seafoods.

“We’ve been open a week and the response has been fantastic,” said the businessman.

“I think people appreciate the fact it’s something different and have been re-booking to come back already.”