New Purple Lily bistro opens at Sunderland's Mountain Daisy as historic pub gets new management team

One of the city’s most historic pubs is under new management who’ve introduced a new bistro offering to attract people through its Edwardian doors.

David Barker and Sophie Davison have taken over the reigns at the landmark Mountain Daisy pub in Hylton Road.

The Grade II-listed pub has changed hands a number of times over the years, but the couple are keen to make their mark on the site with a range of entertainment and joining forces with cafe owner Sarah Buckingham-Howell to create the in-house Purple Lily Bistro.

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Sophie said: “We’ve had the pub a month now and it’s doing alright, we’re still getting the word out there that it’s under new management.

The Mountain Daisy has new management and a new bistro

"We’re trying to run something different every night so it attracts different crowds, with free pool on Wednesdays, drinks deals on Thursdays, disco and karaoke on Fridays, live music on Saturdays and pound bottles on Sundays.

"The pub has so much potential and there’s loads of history in the place. Lots of people come in and tell us stories about the building.”

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Various events will also be running at the pub, with the upstairs function room also available for hire.

One of the main new additions is The Purple Lily bistro, which serves food into the snug as well as to the main bar.

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Inside the Mountain Daisy historic snug room with The Purple lily Bistro's Sarah Buckingham-Howell.

Chef and bistro owner Sarah already had success with her previous venture, Laywawa’s in Grangetown which, in its three years of running, won the title of Best Burger in Sunderland in a competition run by Sunderland BID, as well as picking up an award in the Northern Enterprise Awards.

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"In the first few months of running in Stockton Road, we’d been really popular,” said Sarah. “But then the pandemic hit, which really affected business because we had a lot of older customers.

“I’d been talking to my partner about maybe moving to a better location and then The Mountain Daisy contacted me about doing the food here, it was like serendipity. The kitchen here is three times the size of the cafe kitchen and the snug is fabulous, it really suits our style of food.”

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One of Sunderland’s most architecturally-significant pubs, The Mountain Daisy has been described by Camra (Campaign for Real Ale) as having “one of the most spectacular pub rooms anywhere in the country” thanks to its snug’s ceramic tiling, featuring local scenes such as Marsden Rock, Cragside and Durham Cathedral.

The Mountain Daisy is rich in historical features
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Previously valued at around a £1million, the Edwardian tiles by Craven Dunnill & Co are regarded as one of the finest examples of their kind.

Sarah has called the bistro Purple Lily in keeping with the Mountain Daisy name, with purple lily being a mountain flower in Japan.

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As well as the award-winning Laywawa burger, the bistro has a broad menu including hot beef baps, breakfast baps, quiches, corned beef pie, butter chicken curry, kids options, afternoon tea and Sunday dinners.

:: The Mountain Daisy is open Wednesday to Thursday from 3pm to 11pm, 12pm to 12am Friday and Saturday and Sundays from 11am to 11pm. Purple Lily Bistro is open Wednesday to Saturday from 12pm to 6pm and Sunday from 12pm to 4pm.

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The award-winning Laywawa burger at Purple Lily Bistro
Inside the Mountain Daisy historic snug room.
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The historic Mountain Daisy pub is under new management.
The pub dates back to 1901
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Inside the Mountain Daisy historic snug room.
The historic Mountain Daisy pub is under new management.