Chase, Park Lane, Sunderland

Chase, Sunderland

Chase, Sunderland

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When I think of Chase, I usually associate it with cocktails and dancing upstairs on Friday and Saturday nights.

So, when someone said the Park Lane watering hole had had a facelift and now serves food, I was intrigued.

A lick of paint and a deep clean have done the bar wonders. There’s no smell of stale alcohol and the extensive drinks list is impressive.

Slightly worse for wear after the night before, three friends and I claimed a booth, and though I couldn’t bear to sample a cocktail, I did look at the menu as it’s been updated since my last visit.

There are classic cocktails such as cosmopolitans and Long Island ice tea (£3.70), new creations like Ruby’s lemonade and swizzle sticks (£3.70), as well as shot sticks (£10) fish bowls (£12.80) and pitchers (£10.60).

Because I couldn’t manage one of the tasty concoctions, I chose a medicinal pint of Strongbow (£3.05), with two of my companions choosing bottles of Heineken (£3.15) and Corona (£3.50).

Recently returned from China, friend Calum isn’t in the swing of Mackem drinking yet, so settled for a large diet coke (£1.95).

I was surprised at how busy the night time hot-spot was on a Saturday afternoon, and while everyone seemed to be drinking, visitors were also tucking into pub grub.

Two-for-one pizzas all day every day and the selection of comfort food is obviously too difficult to pass up.

We decided to sample the offerings and chose pizzas: Hoisin duck (£7.75), Serrano ham (£7.99), Romana (£6.95) and Indian banquet (£7.85), and a bath of nachos with pulled pork to share (£9.95).

The nachos were delivered in a silver bucket so deep there was more than enough for me, and three hungry six-foot males to share.

Top marks go to the cook who layered the salty crisps with peppers, pork, sour cream, salsa, guacamole and grated cheese.

No sooner was the miniature bath whisked away than four freshly cooked 12-inch pizzas were placed down. My Romana pizza was delicious. Prosciutto, red onion and runny mascarpone cheese tasted like carbonara sauce.

The hoisin duck pizza was declared the best choice, and the Indian banquet, complete with mini onion bhajis, the least favourite.

Very full, but adamant there was room for dessert, the boys greedily picked two chocoholic mega sharer desserts (£7.95).

I’ve never seen anything like the mammoth goblets that were put in front of us.

Double chocolate fudge cake, Belgian chocolate and vanilla ice creams, double cream and chocolate cookies doused in maple syrup with Kit Kat fingers. No less than a heart attack in a bowl.

I could only manage a few spoonfuls, but the lads finished the rest.

Aside from the toilets, which haven’t been spruced up alongside the rest of the bar, Chase ticks all the boxes.

Monica Turnbull