Review: Throwing Stones, National Glass Centre, Sunderland

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RAINY summer days are the pits.

They render the usual attractions of the beach and parks off limits, so, instead of going for our usual walk, my friend Laura and I opted for the more sedentary affair of lunch and chin wagging.

Saturday afternoon and Throwing Stones was packed with diners. A good sign.

Unlike other cafés which are surrounded by shops and other attractions, the National Glass Centre is very much a destination venue, you would have to make the effort to go there.

You have to wait to be seated, but the staff are pretty attentive and it didn’t take long for them to spot us.

The seating echoes the pseudo-futuristic style of the building, with a simplistic, yet quirky design.

Food-wise don’t expect any extravagant dishes, but what they have – salads, sandwiches, omelettes, burgers and grills – is of top-notch quality.

We both chose sandwiches – a brie and bacon for me and tomato, mozzarella and pesto for Laura – which are both priced at £3.95 each.

My pet hate is sandwiches that are too bread-heavy, but these come with plenty of filling.

I had lashings of cheese and crispy bacon, which was served with salad.

We were feeling gluttonous so ordered a salad to share too – the deep-fried goat’s cheese option. (£6)

The salad was immense: fresh, zingy and lip-smackingly good.

The goat’s cheese was deliciously gooey, and you get a good-sized portion for your pennies.

Our post-lunch coffees were reasonable too, with all hot drinks coming in at around the £1.95 mark.

Once the site of Sunderland’s proud shipbuilding industry, the modern venue which has replaced the works celebrates a different heritage – glass.

And it’s a good idea to round off your meal with a browse of the gift shop.

It’s got plenty of glass sculptures by local artists, and it’s always good for a quirky piece of jewellery.

Exhibitions currently running at the venue are Beyond Traditions, which examines calligraphy, and Songs of the Sea which focuses on the sea as a metaphor for storytelling.