Sunderland's new Buddha Beat restaurant: Opening date and sneak peek at new eatery in former D’Acqua building

A well-known city centre restaurant site is entering a colourful new chapter.

The former D’Acqua restaurant in John Street was hugely-popular during its 13 years in the city, before being sold and briefly running as Undisclosed in summer 2021.

Housed in the basement of the old Sunderland and South Tyneside water board building, the restaurant unit had been empty since.

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But next week, the historic site will open as Buddha Beat after being given a major makeover and a whole new lease of life by new owner, Andy Drape.

The new Buddha Beat Asian tapas restaurant to open on John Street. Owner Andy Drape.

The executive chef, who has signed a 10-year lease for the Grade II listed basement site, has already had great success with his River Beat restaurant which has operated in Gateshead Quayside for eight years – and now he’s bringing his flair for Far Eastern cuisine to Sunderland.

Andy travelled through Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, Japan and Malaysia when training to become a chef, and much of the menu has been influenced by the dishes of each region he visited.

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"I first saw the building around five months ago, and as soon as I came down here I saw the potential in it,” he said. “We’ve really lightened up the space and brought some fun to it. We have artworks from local artists, as well as Asian and modern influences in the decor.”

He added: “We’re really looking forward to getting people through the doors. We’ve put some posts about bookings on our social media and the response has been great. People say they can’t wait to visit and we’ve already had a number of bookings.”

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The new Buddha Beat Asian tapas restaurant to open on John Street.

Over the years Andy has won a number of awards, including runner up of the Metro Best Newcomer Restaurant, a Remmy Martin Award and a Best Tyne and Wear Restaurant Award.

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He has also worked as a head chef at Blackfriars, Barn Asia and Sohe in Newcastle.

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

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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.

The new Buddha Beat Asian tapas restaurant to open on John Street.
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The new Buddha Beat Asian tapas restaurant to open on John Street.