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Good Persian food at fair prices - review of Shandiz in Sunderland city centre

Dining out on a Monday night? You’re certainly limited for choice in Sunderland city centre with most restaurants closed after the busier, peak period of weekend trade.

Saturday, 5th March 2022, 10:58 am

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We tried and failed to get into Roma which was fully booked, and walked past a handful of shuttered sites before finding a welcome, and some bargain food, at Shandiz.

With its frontage in Vine Place looking a little bit more like a takeaway than a restaurant, it’s easy to forget about its dine-in option which is actually ideal if you’re just after a cheap tea with your mates after work, with really reliable open hours of 11.30am to 9.30pm daily.

The decor’s had a bit of a spruce up recently with nods to its Persian heritage with Middle Eastern-style lamp murals, a bright colour palette and freshly-baked baklava on the bar.

What we thought of Shandiz Persian restaurant in Vine Place

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It’s an easy-going sort of place, reflected in the music with its 90s playlist – one of those little restaurants you stumble across on holiday kind of vibe.

The menu is Persian and Mediterranean with options such as traditional stews, a good range of meze, wraps, curries and a broad choice of bbq and grill dishes.

I chose the chicken kebab which, served with either saffron rice, fresh naan, chips or salad, is good value at £8.

The accompanying tomato had been a bit too vigorously grilled and it could have done with a little more salad garnish maybe, but the chicken itself was really succulent and tender and you get two skewer fulls for your eight quid. The rice too was really moreish, the kind you can never quite perfect at home and it all felt a lot healthier and less greasy than your average meal out.

The restaurant recently had a refurb

I couldn’t get enough of the refreshing yoghurt and cucumber dip from the cold meze menu, a satisfying mound for £2.50 which was punctuated with plenty of cucumber chunks. You can also pick up dips for your kebab, such as chilli or garlic for £1.

We weren’t after a huge meal, but would definitely go back to try more of that meze. (While the mains are meat heavy, the meze has a good selection for vegetarians)

Drinks-wise, there’s more non-alcoholic options than most, but there’s also enough of a alcohol selection to satisfy most drinkers, with a bottle of Peroni costing £3.50 and a G&T priced £4.50.

The house red was a Merlot and it was very palatable indeed at £4 for a large glass.

Chicken kebab with saffron rice with meze of yoghurt and cucumber dip and mixed olives

Our bill for three kebabs with dips, a couple of meze and drinks was only £51.70 which was really fair for the quality of food. However, there were no cash payments being taken on our visit if you’re not a cash carrier.

It’s a popular place for delivery too, and there was plenty of meals heading out of the door on our visit. Delivery charges are £2 for under two miles and £3 for over three miles.

The nearest car park is the privately-owned Bridges, which fills up fast on theatre nights. But it’s worth noting there’s free parking now in the city centre after 3pm Monday to Friday in City Council car parks and on street parking places.

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Shandiz in Vine Place, in Sunderland city centre

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Unlike some city centre restaurants, it's open seven days a week