Review: Love Lily, Roker, Sunderland
Roker's undergone quite the renaissance of late.
Where once there was just Sue’s Cafe (still a great place for a sausage sandwich), the amusements and perhaps a pint at long gone Smugglers to warm you up on a bracing walk down the beach, there’s now a choice of good quality cafes and restaurants to whet your appetite.
Love Lily is a prime example of an independent business that’s bringing something new to Roker.
The bakery branched into one of the Pier Point units some time ago to create one of the city’s prettiest tea rooms and cafes, serving breakfasts, brunches and lunches.
Decor is pretty in pink, with pastel hues complementing marble-effect flooring, gold pineapple lampshades and shelves topped with trailing faux flowers making it a cafe for the Instagram age. There’s also a wall of contemporary prints featuring everything from inspirational quotes to Yorkie dogs.
We visited on a wet Sunday for brunch and there’s plenty on offer. We’d missed breakfast which is served until 11.30am so ordered from the all day menu, which runs until 4pm. For a small place, the menu’s fairly large with a good range of scones, eggs, paninis and sandwiches. Little legs are also well catered for with a good children’s menu, including children’s afternoon tea served on a three tier stand so they can feel like one of the ladies that lunch. Four-legged friends can also lap up free water and treats or sausages for a quid.
I chose the crushed avocado on toast with poached eggs and smoked salmon (£6.95) with a side of halloumi fries from the specials board (£3.95). There was a little bit of a wait for our order at around half an hour and we were worried our hour’s parking was going to run out – the introduction of meters is a less welcome addition to the seafront. But the menu does warn you that as everything is made to order it can take a while when they’re busy.
In the meantime, some excellent coffees kept us going, which will set you back £2.50 for an Americano and £3.20 for a latte. For non-drivers the site also has an alcohol licence if you’re after a wine or other bottled booze with your lunch.
It was a decent-sized portion for a brunch with two perfectly poached eggs which oozed into submission over plenty of ripe avocado and slivers of salmon. The halloumi fries were a sinfully-good side with a crisp exterior balancing out the delightfully rubbery cheese inside, which was served with a sweet chilli dip.
Sweet treats are the main business here and there’s a cake fridge laden with a Willy Wonka-esque level of variety, ranging from a beautifully moist-looking red velvet cake, to a Galaxy Caramel option and gluten-free and vegan choices, which are freshly made at the business’s successful bakery.
If you’re just passing, they also offer a take out service until 5pm to keep you fuelled for a walk along the Roker riviera and newly-opened Roker Pier.