See inside the former D'Acqua ahead of opening night as new restaurant Undisclosed
One of the city’s most well-known restaurant sites will open its doors as a brand new venture this weekend.
Ahead of opening night for its new guise, called Undisclosed by Emily’s Table, the Echo had a look around to see how the John Street site has been transformed from its D’Acqua days.
Gone is the distinctive purple of D’Acqua, which during its 13 years in the city built up a stellar reputation, to be replaced by a darker, more Speakeasy-inspired decor.
Around £60,000 has been invested in transforming the site, which is already fully booked for its first two nights of service, on May 21 and 22.
New owner, chef Christopher Spence, has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants across the world, at locations including Paris, Budapest and Australia.
It was whilst in Melbourne that he fell in love with a bar called Beneath Driver Lane and was inspired to bring its underground vibe back to his native North East.
The below street level location of the D’Acqua fitted perfectly and he and the team have spent the past few months putting their stamp on the site. New additions include investing in new kitchen equipment, an enlarged pass so people can see the chefs at work from two chef’s tables, as well as a new bar area for people using the restaurant.
Moving forward, there will also be a whisky cellar stocking exclusive spirits and limited runs.
The menu is geared towards fine dining, with a tasting menu priced £75 per person, as well as a la carte options, an afternoon tea menu and a Sunday lunch menu.
Chris, whose company name is Emily’s Table after his daughter, said: “Fine dining wasn’t the kind of food that was accessible to me as a kid, but after working in kitchens around the world it’s the only kind of food I like to eat when I go out now."
Speaking about finally being able to open for sit-in dining now restrictions have lifted, he said: “After seven months it’s been great to get back in the kitchen and get those chef whites back on.”
Undisclosed by Emily’s Table has created 21 job roles, including two previous staff members from D’Acqua: Nathan Outhwaite who’s been promoted to general manager and Carley Wood who’s been promoted to head chef. Chris is also working alongside City of Sunderland College to give catering students the chance to get some hands-on experience in the restaurant.
Nathan said: “D’Acqua had a lot of regulars and quite a few have booked to come to Undisclosed on opening weekend. We’ve made it clear it’s completely different though. We also won’t be turning tables, so once people book a table they can enjoy it all evening.
"It’s been a big challenge getting everything ready, and a lot of the features in the restaurant we’ve built ourselves, but we feel really proud of what we’ve achieved. It’s got a real hidden gem feel to it.”
*Undisclosed will be open Wednesday to Saturday, from noon to 2.30pm for lunch service, 3pm to 5pm for afternoon tea and from 6.30pm to 9pm for evening service. Sunday lunch will be available from noon to 4pm.