Review: Sawadee Thai Cafe, Roker Avenue, Sunderland

Sawadee Thai cafe on Roker Avenue for The Guide.
Sawadee Thai cafe on Roker Avenue for The Guide.
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IT’S nice to see somewhere to eat opening in Sunderland which isn’t another Italian restaurant.

I like a comforting plate of pasta as much as the next diner, but absolutely love the delicate flavours of Thai food.

I go past Sawadee every morning on the way into work, so my tastebuds had been well and truly warmed up by the time I arrived for a meal there.

My partner and I both had just escaped from late nights at our respective works and were ready for someone else to take charge of the cooking.

Sawadee’s evening menu offers a traditional selection of starters, soups, salads, curries and stir fries to eat in or take away, all priced at less than £10.

To start, I chose one of my favourite Thai dishes – tom yum soup, a hot and sour bowl of mushrooms and tomato, bobbing with a mix of seafood.

It was packed with flavour and came in a generous portion, but I still managed to steal a few bites of my companion’s crab claws – deep-fried crab claws in tempura batter.

These were tasty, but less authentic, as I’ve seen the same lurid breadcrumbed offerings at many an “eat ‘til you burst” Chinese buffet restaurant.

Curries and salads are two dishes the Thais do brilliantly and their salads are a world away from the bland mix of lettuce and cucumber usually served up as a main course.

I chose yum nua or yummy beef salad, purely because it had a great name and was presented with a tender pile of grilled beef in a spicy chilli and lemon juice dressing.

But my partner chose the winning dish with his masaman curry – beef in a mild sweet curry, with peanuts and potatoes.

It was absolutely delicious, with the creamy curry sauce contrasting with the bite and crunch of the peanuts, so I “sampled” as much as I could in the name of research.

We skipped on rice and noodles, which are not included with main meals and were too full to try an authentic Thai dessert, so the bill came to less than £24.

Sawadee is open from 5pm-10pm and doubles up as a cafe from 8pm-2pm, when it serves up hot and cold sandwiches, breakfasts and traditional English meals, alongside Thai breakfasts – noodles, soup and omelettes.

The decor is basic cafe chic, with a fast and friendly service which will hopefully give Sawadee its deserving amount of loyal customers.

If you need any extra incentives, Monday is specials night, where you can pick up a combination of most starters and main courses for £9.90.