It doesn’t matter if you use it just for fuel, as a way of socialising, to make memories or just to enhance your understanding of other cultures – food is one of the things that ties us all together.
And that’s why it’s the best time of the year for foodies, because Sunderland Restaurant Week returns on Saturday 17 until Sunday 25 March, showcasing the best the city has to offer with a whole host of offers to suit every budget.
It’s the perfect opportunity to return to favourite restaurants or to visit the new kids on the block or to simply have an excuse to meet up with family or friends.
And what the event also serves to prove is what an exciting, growing and eclectic restaurant scene the city has.
Sharon Appleby, Head of Business Operations at Sunderland Business Improvement District believes the continued success of the week – now returning for the fourth time – is also a great pull for bringing people to the city.
“We know that Sunderland Restaurant Week brings in many people from outside the area, people who may not necessarily normally come to the city,” she said.
“And the knock-on effect of that is that once they’ve been here during restaurant week and been exposed to what Sunderland has to offer, they are likely to come back.”
She added: “Since we started Restaurant Week the city has welcomed a whole host of new places to eat and these have also come on board, giving people the opportunity to try somewhere new at a really great price.”
For further information, the full list of participants and to download vouchers for Sunderland Restaurant Week, visit www.sunderlandbid.co.uk/offers/restaurant-week
This time round there’s a whole host of the city’s newest food outlets on the menu…
Bonded Warehouse, Fish Quay
With exposed brick and original beams, this Victorian warehouse setting delivers on character as well as great food. The unique venue is offering two small plates and a drink for £10 and diners can choose from dishes like baked mac ‘n’ cheese with bacon, Gruyère and chives and seared flat iron steak, served with ale pickled onions, truffle aioli and bone marrow crumb.
El Nido Mexicana, Frederick Street
Colourful murals and traditional Mexican dishes will transport you from Sunderland to Latin America. Diners heading to El Nido for restaurant week can choose from a starter and burrito or two tacos for £10. And for those looking for something more substantial, for £15 you can add a dessert and side or a cocktail.
Grannie Annie’s Pub and Pantry, Marine Walk
A seafront pub full of eclectic trinkets with a homely feel, Grannie Annie’s prides itself on providing comfort food – just like Grannie Annie used to make. Two courses will cost you £10 or it’s three for £12.95, with dishes like carrot and orange soup, steak and kidney pudding and an indulgent chocolate peanut butter bombe for dessert.
Café Farah, High Street West
Known for its friendly service and ambient atmosphere, this stylish café and bar serves Italian food with a modern twist and doesn’t scrimp on the portion sizes. Light and airy, it’s a perfect new location to try during Restaurant Week.
Kings Tapas Lounge, Olive Street
With Indian bites, pizza, grills and prosecco all under one roof, this stylish restaurant is perfect for those who find it hard to choose just one cuisine. Try a bit of everything with four tapas dishes for £9.95 per person and enjoy two for one prosecco, cocktails, gin, wine or bottled lager and cider for £10.
The Lambton Worm, Low Row
Mixing a homely feel with a touch of the eccentric, The Lambton Worm’s offers that classic pub feel with a twist. Three courses are only £10 and you can choose from gourmet burgers including peanut butter and bacon or try the regional favourite – the parmo – and finish off with an indulgent dessert.
The Engine Room, High Street West
Taking its name from the working fire station that was once in its place, diners will find a number of the original features around the bistro including former firefighters’ names on some of the tiles. Start with deep fried halloumi with sweet chilli jam or salt and pepper squid with harissa mayo and enjoy three courses for £15.
Boars Head, High Street West
With stunning views of the River Wear, the Boars Head provides classic pub food with the atmosphere to match. Diners can watch the boats come and go while they enjoy British pub favourites during Restaurant Week.
Victorian Eve’s, Fawcett Street
A charming tea room with vintage furnishings, sepia photographs lining the walls and staff serving you in period garments, Victorian Eve’s is a perfect destination to celebrate restaurant week with a difference. Make the most of their £5 daily specials with comforting choices like mince and dumplings or pie served with mash and gravy.