I MUST have eaten in all of Sunderland’s restaurants at one point or another.
So, for somewhere to go on a date, I decided to have a culinary break from the norm and cross the Tyne for food.
With its prime spot on the Quayside, Sabatini is a restaurant that I’ve walked past on countless occasions, but this was my first time through its doors.
It made a great first impression.
It’s got a trendy vibe to it with sleek fittings, deep mahogany furniture and moody lighting, which lent itself to a dinner date.
Not that my date was unattractive, I just prefer not to be in the glare of a spotlight while I’m filling my face.
We had booked ahead, which is advisable, as Sabatini proved popular on this Saturday evening.
The menu is classic Italian: pizza, pasta, chicken, fish – you get the gist.
Our service was prompt and polished and my starter of insalata di mozzarella caprese (£6.95) was served not long after ordering.
Mozzarella salad is a difficult starter to get wrong, but this one was particularly tasty and wasn’t drowned in oil, as is sometimes the case.
My friend, meanwhile, polished off a bruschetta romana (£4.75). Again, it was well presented and went down a treat.
Feeling distinctly unadventurous, I chose a good old pizza for my main.
For £7.95, it was whopping and had one of those stone-baked bases that always make this dish seem more authentically Italian.
My date had the lasagne, which was also reasonably priced at £7.95 and delicious.
It’s also worth exploring Sabatini’s extensive wine menu which is vast.
At the cheaper end of the scale, you can pick up a house wine for £14.50 a bottle or a small glass for £3.65. At the other end of the scale, a bottle of Argentiera will cost you £62.45 a bottle.
Or if you’re feeling really flush, a bottle of Cristal is £260 a bottle.
It’ not a tipple I could afford on Echo wages and our bill came to a much more purse-friendly £49.75.