See inside Sunderland's colourful new Buddha Beat restaurant after transformation of historic site

From Far Eastern wallpaper and local street art to a bar bedecked in camouflage, Buddha Beat is making its mark on an historic city centre site.

The basement of the old Sunderland and South Tyneside Water Board building in John Street has been restaurant premises for more than a decade, operating as the popular D’Acqua for 13 years and briefly as Undisclosed.

Now, the Grade II-listed site has entered its most colourful chapter yet as Buddha Beat, which has been brought to the city by executive chef and business owner Andy Drape.

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Andy, who lives in Sunderland, has already had great success with his River Beat restaurant in Gateshead and now he’s looking forward to bringing his fun flair for Far Eastern cuisine, which includes Asian tapas and a range of curries, to Wearside.

Inside Sunderland's new Buddha Beat restaurant, John Street

"This isn’t just a two-hour experience, we want people to sit and stay and really enjoy the place,” he said. "What we do is something that’s really been missing in Sunderland.”

The restaurant has 70 covers over three rooms, with space for large groups as well as a chef’s table, for 6-10 diners, which people can book to see the food being prepared through the open pass.

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On the menu

Initially, Buddha Beat will run the same menu as River Beat, with changes made in the coming months.

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The new Buddha Beat restaurant on John Street opens its doors.

The menu has plenty of vegan and gluten-free options and no peanut oil is used in the cooking, for those with nut allergies.

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Options include:

:: Fish tapas such as salted squid (£8), tuna ceviche (£11) seabass adobo (£9)

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:: Meat tapas such as pork belly (£8), beef tataki (£9), duck cups (£9), pork and prawn roll (£10)

The new Buddha Beat Asian tapas restaurant to open on John Street. Owner Andy Drape.
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:: Vegan tapas such tofu Chinese pancake (£3.50), Thai rice balls (£7), edamame pad Thai (£8)

:: Curries such as lamb vindaloo (£20), red chicken malay (£18), Thai massaman beef (£20) and a range of mix and match curries

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:: Desserts such as crème brûlée (£6.50), peanut tart (£7) and dark chocolate torte (£8)

Drinks

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The new Buddha Beat restaurant on John Street opens its doors.

There’s a vast drinks menu.

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:: Cocktails are all priced £9 and include options such as Rhubarb Fizz, Raspberry and Thai Basil Bramble and Singapore Swing.

:: Wines start from £5.50 a glass, with a large range of red and white options.

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:: Gins include Japanese gin Roku as well as local gins such as St Mary’s, priced £9.

:: Draught options also include a Buddha Pilsner made by the team at Sunderland’s Vaux Brewery and Asahi, starting at £2.50 for half pints

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:: No and low alcohol options include Heineken, Erdinger, mocktails, Sea Change wine and more.

Asian tapas at Buddha Beat
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:: Premium champagnes and sparkling wines include Henners Brut NV Sparkling (£70 a bottle) and Bollinger Brut Special (£80 a bottle).

Opening times

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Buddha Beat will be open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4pm to 10pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 12noon to 11pm.

Buddha Beat is open for walk ins from 4pm on Tuesday, January 17 through to Thursday, January 19. And people can book tables to visit from 12pm on Friday, January 20 through the link on their social media channels.

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The new Buddha Beat restaurant on John Street opens its doors.
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The new Buddha Beat restaurant on John Street opens its doors.
The new Buddha Beat restaurant on John Street opens its doors.
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The new Buddha Beat restaurant on John Street opens its doors.
The new Buddha Beat restaurant on John Street opens its doors.
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The new Buddha Beat restaurant on John Street opens its doors.
The new Buddha Beat restaurant on John Street opens its doors.