Judging by the amount of diners on Saturday night, chickens are going to be flying out of this new addition to Hill View.
The original Grill ‘n’ Chill in Seaham has built up a firm following for its chargrilled chicken, parmos and kebabs and its first opening in Sunderland certainly seems to have got people in a flap.
Housed in the former Stannington Fisheries in Stannington Grove, it’s unrecognisable from its former guise. More stylish than your average chicken joint, it’s taken months of construction works to create this modern take-away and restaurant, complete with trendy bare brick walls, monochrome tiling, murals and industrial lighting with splashes of blue adding to the contemporary effect.
It’s only been open a matter of weeks, but its reputation clearly precedes it as there was a never ending stream of customers for both sit-in and take away on our visit last weekend.
We managed to get a table for two in the restaurant area which seats around 30 - they do accept party and table bookings if you want to ensure you get a spot. The clientele was mostly teenagers and families but it suits the informal vibe at this place - which also has a ramp and baby changing facilities fitted as part of the site’s overhaul.
There’s no alcohol served on site, you’ll have to settle for some pop from the fridge instead, but it’s not really the kind of place you spend all night in or go to for a quiet drink. The turn over of covers is fast but, despite the hustle and bustle and plate spinning, the senior members of staff were really friendly and chatty and keen to get diners’ feedback on their new venture.
Menu-wise, as you would expect, it’s chicken heavy, but it offers a greater variety and more for your money than the more well-known national chicken chain. A quarter chicken with a choice of sauce, ranging from garlic butter to a piri piri inferno, with fries and salad costs £4.45, with pizzas starting from £5.95, curries from £4.95 and parmos from a tenner.
I had a red pepper dip and pitta to start for £3.45 which had a good kick and was a much better standard than most starters from a take away. The bar was equally high for the mains. I went for the chicken breast in pitta (£6.45) with a lemon and herb dressing. It’s a healthier take away than most anyway, but I swerved more calories by substituting the accompanying fries for extra salad. My mate had no such qualms and went with the belly-busting mixed grill from the specials menu, which consists of chicken boti, chicken shiek, lamb shiek and beef for £12.95.
My chicken was really moist and tender, but not overly greasy, while the light sauce stopped it from being bland. And there was plenty of huge chunks to stuff into the pitta.
The constant comings and goings of take out customers meant it got a little congested at tables near the kitchen, but there’s plans in place for an express collection hatch to free up space around the tables and add more chill to the grill.
Five Other Chicken Places To Try
•Shandiz, Vine Place, Sunderland
It may look like any other take away from the outside, but Shandiz offers great quality Persian grills and wraps for sit in or take away. Expect authentic Mediterranean dishes at fair prices.
•Grill ‘n’ Chill, East Shore Village, Seaham
The original Grill ‘n’ Chill is a popular spot for a healthy version of a take away - especially its chicken boti dish.
It’s open seven day a week from noon until 10pm. It also offers a delivery service from 5pm.
•Nando’s, High Street West, Sunderland
One of the most successful restaurants in the cinema complex, Nando’s is generally busy. It’s not the cheapest of pre-cinema meals, but its dishes are consistent and you can eat fairly healthily.
•Coop Chicken House, Collingwood Street, Newcastle
Plenty of hot sauces available for the wings at Coop Chicken House. See if you can make the leaderboard for the ‘all you can eat wings for a tenner’ challenge, which takes place every Sunday.
•Red’s True BBQ, Grey’s Quarter, Newcastle
One of many chains in the Eldon Square food court, Red’s offers pulled chicken, chicken burgers and sticky chicken as well as other BBQ classics.
Expect to get your hands dirty at this American-themed restaurant where you’re encouraged to get stuck in.