Popular Italian restaurant in Sunderland in line for national award as it reopens after five-figure spruce-up

A restaurant which has been flying the flag for Italian food in Sunderland for 12 years has unveiled its new look as it gears up to compete in a national cookery contest.

Wednesday, 11th September 2019, 5:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th September 2019, 6:37 pm

Angelo’s is one of the longest-running restaurants in Sunniside, but owners Federico Trulli and Nello Russo, who took over the business five years ago, decided the listed building could do with a new look.

They invested £15,000 in sprucing up the building, which was once used as a shipbuilders’ office, and giving it a warmer colour palette of gold and heritage blue.

They closed for a week as work was completed, but are now back open as they prepare to compete in the Italian Awards 2019.

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Angelo's Ristorante owners chef Nello Russo and front of house Federico Trulli (right) are finalists of the Italian Awards 2019

The pair have already proved successful at the national awards, which celebrates Italian restaurants in England, with Nello winning the Best Chef award in 2015 and 2016 and the restaurant winning a best in the North East award in 2016.

Now Nello is perfecting a three-way short rib beef dish which he will cook for judges ahead of an awards ceremony in Manchester on October 6.

Federico said: “We took a break from the awards last year as a lot of work goes in to them and we want to do it properly if we’re going to enter, but we’re ready again this year.

“Nello will be cooking a dish from the menu, which is very popular with our customers.”

Angelo's Ristorante new refurbishment

The business partners are passionate about representing the flavours of their home country which they incorporate in the menu.

Federico, who is originally from Rome, said: “Home-made Italian food is what we’re known for, as well as our customer care. People can come in for classic dishes, but we do them the proper way, so our carbonara is made with egg yolk, not cream, as cream is not an ingredient we really use in Italian cooking.”

Other changes at the restaurant include the creation of a tapas area where people can come in for lights bites and drinks.

Federico, who also owns Angelo’s Trattoria in East Rainton, said: “Sunniside is sometimes forgotten about as an area. But we have noticed more and more new people coming in with all the new student developments, such as Jopling House, so we’ve created a tapas bar at the front in an area which was used more for private dining, so that people can just pop in for something light to eat with some drinks.”

Home-made seafood ravioli with prawn bisque sauce and topped with roasted seabass fillet

Italian tapas on offer includes a range of bruschetta, as well as dishes including deep fried whitebait with garlic mayo, arancini and grilled chorizo with peas and crispy shallots.

They’ve also introduced a six-course tasting menu, believed to be Sunderland’s first. It can be chosen from the main menu and includes honey and vanilla poached pear with burrata cheese and Parma ham and king prawn with pork crackling crust and smoked mozzarella cream.

The new tapas area at the front of the restaurant
Bruschetta from the new tapas menu
Angelo's Ristorante new bar and waiting area refurbishment
Angelo's Ristorante co-owner chef Nello Russo in his kitchen