Farm food worth the wait - our review of Sunderland's Penshaw Tea Rooms

It’s testament to the popularity of Penshaw Tearooms that every time I’ve visited there’s been a queue snaking out of the door.

Monday, 28th March 2022, 10:52 am
Updated Monday, 28th March 2022, 11:09 am

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I’d hoped to maybe beat the crowds by visiting during the week, instead of at the weekend, but every day seems peak period at Penshaw. And with so much available at this well-known spot in the shadow of Penshaw Monument it’s easy to see why.

Starting life as a nursery in 1988, the site has blossomed over the years to include a tearoom in an old stable block in 2007, a farm butchers in 2013 and a home bakery, meaning you can pick up everything from bedding plants to pies and sausages and sauces to take away, as well as the added bonus of a large on-site car park.

To meet demand, the tearoom has expanded its seating over the years and as well as the indoor seating, there’s seating in the polytunnel and yard, which both have a cover, as well as benches on the grassed areas.

The perennially-popular Penshaw Tearooms.

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You’ll need to queue regardless of where you sit, and our schoolgirl error was to find an outdoor seat and then having to rejoin the queue to order, which took another 20 minutes on top of the initial 15 minute wait. Top tip: leave someone in the queue to keep your spot for ordering.

Whilst you wait, the fridges of food will have you salivating with doorstop-sized slabs of pies, towering cakes, and generous sandwich portions being whisked out of the bustling kitchen regularly. The staff here must have some daily step count as it’s a constant stream of custom, with table service once you’ve ordered.

The menu is what you’d expect from a tearoom: a good selection of breakfast served before 11.30am, cold sandwiches, panini, quiche, soups, jacket potatoes, teacakes, scones, cakes and more – and it’s all good quality stuff.

Take my choice of cheese and ham panini, for example. At other places you sometimes just get a sliver of sandwich meat, but this version (£5.90) was filled with thick cut ham and plenty of cheese. All sandwiches and paninis come with salad, a creamy coleslaw and crisps, too, which add extra value for money.

Pork, stuffing and apple roll, front, and cheese and ham panini, back

On to my pudding and in all my years gorging on peach melbas, Penshaw is possibly home to Sunderland’s biggest. A huge cake stuffed to the brim with fresh cream, it’s the Willy Wonka of peach melbas, with an extra splodge of cream on the side for extra sweet tooths. It defeated me, but it’s one of the many cakes able to buy for take away from the bakery, so you can attempt it in instalments at home.

A nice touch too on the cappuccino which comes with a Penshaw Monument shaped sprinkling of chocolate.

We couldn’t resist calling into the bakery before leaving and it’s a real treasure trove of sinful treats, with options such as country beer sourdough (£3.85), cheddar and caramalised onion stottie (£1.10), family pies (£9.50), pink slices (£2.40), huge sausage rolls that would put Greggs to shame (£2.50), scones (£1.10) and much more.

:: Penshaw Tearooms is open Monday to Sunday from 9am to 5pm. Last orders at 4.30pm.

One of the huge peach melbas

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Plenty of treats to take home
The nursery has expanded over the years
The tearoom is in the shadow of Penshaw Monument
Some of the pies on offer
The on site butchers
The home bakery is a well-stocked shop