Roker's Tin of Sardines launches new tapas menu - here's what to expect

It’s proved to be a real seafront success story and now Tin of Sardines has launched another string to its bow with an evening tapas menu.

It was a long road of renovation to completely transform the old toilet block in Pier View into a new gin bar and brunch spot in Roker.

As well as creating a brand new terrace at the back of the site to make the most of its coastal views, major works included removing the lowered ceiling to expose original Victorian beams, which are now a focal point of a bar stocked with more than 200 varieties of gin.

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Paying tribute to its seafront location, the decor is really well done, from the Frank Styles painted octopus on the wall, to the lobster pots and fish nets which festoon the site and add to the nautical aesthetic.

Trying out the new tapas menu at Tin of Sardines, Roker
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Since opening in June, Tins, as it is affectionately known, has welcomed tens of thousands of people through its doors, 17,000 in the first two months alone, thanks to its range of coffee, brunch, gins, sustainable wines and draught beers.

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And with brunch proving to be one of its biggest sellers with dog walkers and other seafront visitors, the bar has launched a new food menu.

From 4pm - 8pm, Sunday - Thursday, you can now tuck into a tapas menu prepared by new chefs at the site that offers good value for money at five dishes for £30, or you can pick up individual dishes from £4.

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The bar has totally transformed an old toilet block in Pier View.

Choices include halloumi bites, truffled potato tots, mini veggie burger sliders, Thai fishcakes, pulled pork or pulled jackfruit nachos, moules marinière and more.

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It’s also one of the few places in Sunderland – amazing considering we’re a coastal city – where you can knock back oysters.

From just up the coast, the Lindisfarne oysters were beautifully fresh and plump and really fairly priced at three for £7, six for £14 and 12 for £25 – I’ve paid more for less of these delicacies elsewhere.

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Oysters done, we worked our way through a pick ‘n’ mix of dishes: hummus and bread; Jalapeño bites, salt and chilli chicken, patatas bravas and gambas pil pil, with five dishes plenty between the two of us.

It's one of the few places that serve oysters in Sunderland
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The title of top tapas went to the Jalapeño bites: a trio of fat croquettes packed with a kick of spice and just the right amount of bite on the outside.

Really good value at £6 for a large plateful, the salt and chilli chicken also proved a moreish lip-tingler.

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The patatas bravas was also a really generous portion and perfect for lining your stomach if you’re working your way through the extensive drinks menu. We also added chorizo for an extra quid.

I was also impressed with the flavour of the gambas pil pil which packed a punch with a hit of garlic and chilli, but didn’t overpower the more subtle nuance of the plump prawns as is often the case. We mopped up every last drop of sauce.

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You can pick up five tapas for £30

A perfect picky tea that’s ideal for washing down with a few gins, the tapas menu is a great new addition to this bar that’s helping to fuel a real resurgence in the nighttime economy of the seafront.

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Wave of seafront investment

Tin of Sardines will soon be joined by a number of coastal neighbours as part of the wider Seafront Regeneration Scheme to breathe new life into disused buildings in Roker and Seaburn.

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Next to open will be North in the old storage unit at the far end of Seaburn Promenade. The city’s only dedicated seafood restaurant, North has been brought to the city by the team behind the successful Mexico70 and is set to open in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, work will begin in the New Year on the transformation of the landmark Victorian tram shelter in Seaburn as the team at Blacks Corner in East Boldon turn it into a new bistro for the area. A name is yet to be announced for the site, but it will sell the kind of small plates for which Blacks Corner is famed and will have an identity that honours the heritage of the area.

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A lowered ceiling was removed to reveal the original Victorian beams

And, back in Roker, a new beachfront bar is set to open in the old shelter on Marine Walk next summer. The team at Vaux Brewery will begin the renovation works early next year.

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Although it will be operated by Vaux, it will have its own identity, serving a wide range of drinks as well as food for sit in and take away.

Income generated from the leases of the buildings will help support the Sunderland Seafront Trust. The trust operates the Roker Pier and Lighthouse tours and lease income will help it deliver seafront events and activities

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An octopus centrepiece by local artist Frank Styles