Sorrento, Derwent Street, Sunderland

Sorrento restaurant, Derwent Street, Sunderland.

Sorrento restaurant, Derwent Street, Sunderland.

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When eating out, sometimes a no-frills affair can be a better choice when you don’t want to get dressed up.

City centre restaurant Sorrento met just this need, when I was picking where to go for a girly catch-up.

The eatery has been in Derwent Street for years, however, I can’t even remember when my last visit was.

The building doesn’t have the appeal of some newer Italian restaurants in town, but from past experience I know not to judge somewhere on the exterior.

Immediately, I noticed the inside has been given a facelift. I remember it being quite dark, but now it’s light and airy.

Despite the restaurant being quite full, our party was seated straight away, and we were given the happy hour menu – the only menu – as Sorrento boasts “every hour is happy hour.”

There are lots of dishes inspired by menus across the globe such as Greek salad and fajitas, so it took a while to choose. In the meantime our drinks order was taken.

This was an alcohol-free affair, so we opted for soft drinks – a pint of lime and soda costs £1.90. A bottle of house wine costs £10.95.

When we did order, I chose the Greek salad (£4.45) to start, and my companions opted for chef’s special gamberoni starter with piri piri sauce (£5.45), and a garlic bread with cheese (£3.45).

I was slightly disappointed to discover the Greek salad was more of a mixed salad with a few olives and only a sprinkling of feta cubes, so I asked for a bowl of mixed olives (£1.95) to accompany it.

The gamberoni was a hit though, as was the garlic bread, despite being a little too crispy.

I ordered the gamberoni piri piri for my main meal (£9.95) with a side salad instead of chips or vegetables.

My friend Leigh ordered the pollo pancetta with vegetables (£8.95) and Becky had pollo pancetta with chips (£8.95).

The gamberoni was full of flavour and the prawns delicious. The chicken was nice, but lacking a little in flavour

We had to wait a while for our plates to be cleared once finished and we were disappointed that we weren’t offered the dessert menu.

I had to call the waiter to order my coffee (£1.20) and go to the bar to ask to pay the bill, which did spoil the visit a little.

Despite this, if you’re looking for cheaper food in a relaxed environment, Sorrento does fit the bill.

Monica Turnbull