Review: Amore, Tavistock Place, Sunderland

Amore restaurant, Tavistock Place, Sunderland

Amore restaurant, Tavistock Place, Sunderland

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I’M a little bit in love with Amore.

It’s got everything I look for in a restaurant: stylish setting, great atmosphere and, most importantly, excellent food.

It’s been a few months since I last visited this little corner of culinary excellence and, although the menu has changed, the food is as tasty as ever.

I visited with Echo chums, Cara and Georga, last Thursday night for the usual mix of gossip and good times.

Though it was a week night, the place was still packed with courting couples and larger groups.

An unusual feature of Amore is its subterranean setting: the restaurant has been carved out of an old paint factory.

Now, its exposed brickwork, stained-glass window features and limited colour palette work to create a welcoming restaurant with a cool, New York loft apartment vibe.

We were seated in the bar area while we perused the a la carte menu.

It’s a task which takes some time, there is masses of choice with a whopping list of Italian and other Mediterranean favourites.

To start we chose to share an antipasto Amore (£13.95) and the capesante alla salsa di mela (scallops, black pudding, apple and crispy pancetta: £8.95).

These scallops have to be tasted to be believed. They were amazing, plump drops of heaven for your tastebuds.

The platter wasn’t half bad either, there were plenty of nibbly bits to go around – including meats, smoked salmon, prawns, mozzarella and vegetables with salad and warm crostini – and each morsel tasted just delicious.

This was just the right amount to start and I didn’t feel stuffed as I tucked into my main course – a seafood risotto (gamberoni e piselli: £9.95).

In other restaurants in town I’ve had this dish served with small prawns and too few of them, but this one was rich with big, fat juicy tiger prawns.

The dish has a bit of a kick to it too which left my lips tingling, but in a good way.

Cara had steak. Good steak. She says it was perfect: tender and oozing with flavour, served with a delectable dolcelatta, white wine, parsley and cream sauce (fillet formaggio: £19.95).

Georga chose chicken, she always chooses chicken. But this was a little different, filled with sausage meat, pistachios and thyme finished in a rich mushroom jus (pollo ripieno: £15.95).

Pudding was out of the question, we were too full. So we rounded off the meal with another bottle of wine.

This bumped our bill up somewhat to £94, but without the booze it would have been around the £60 mark.

A little pricey, but worth every penny. And for those on a budget, there’s a good happy-hour menu with two-course meals priced either £6.95 or £9.95 each.

In the coming months the restaurant will also be serving up a number of other treats including Italian language classes, Zumba classes, a deli service, a murder mystery night and a Sex and the City-themed evening.