Review of The Chesters + five other Sunderland pubs with grub to try

The Chesters, Chester Road
The Chesters, Chester Road
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Having not been into The Chesters for a number of years, I thought I’d make a return visit to this popular city pub.

It’s a place I used to go to quite regularly when working nearby, but having moved offices several years ago it’s not somewhere I’ve made an effort to go back to.

Fish, chips and mushy peas served with tartar sauce at The Chesters.

Fish, chips and mushy peas served with tartar sauce at The Chesters.

After an afternoon’s shopping in Sunderland city centre left my girlfriend and I famished, I suggested going along to the Chester Road venue as I hoped we wouldn’t have to wait too long to be fed.

It was a bank holiday weekend afternoon and the venue was fairly busy, but we still managed to get seated quickly.

I opted for the beer-battered fish and chips with mushy peas while my girlfriend went for the chicken tikka masala with rice and a naan bread.

Thankfully, with our stomachs rumbling, both meals arrived soon enough.

As someone who is not averse to turning to chip shops quite often, my meal couldn’t be faulted.

Served with authentic newspaper underneath just like chippies used to present them, the fish was cooked to perfection, with the batter not too flaky and the fish itself delicious.

The dish was also accompanied with a wedge of lemon and a generous portion of tartar sauce, while the mushy peas were rich and full of flavour.

Fish and chips can often end up too greasy, but the chips were light and fluffy.

My girlfriend also couldn’t fault her curry, which, although not overly spicy, did have a nice kick to it.

Both meals came in at £13 with a soft drink included, making it excellent value in my opinion.

Service was swift even though the restaurant area was busy with plenty of other diners.

The pub also does Sunday roasts at a wallet-pleasing £6.99 per person, with children’s portions at £3.49, and an extensive breakfast menu which is on offer until noon each day of the week.

Certain dishes are only available on specific days so it may be worth heading to The Chesters’ website if you are planning a trip there.

After our mains, the dessert menu then caught our eye and we both opted for a sticky toffee pudding which came in at £2 each.

Mine came with a healthy dollop of vanilla ice cream and hers with custard.

Neither could be faulted and we wolfed down both offerings in a matter of minutes.

Other dishes on the menu include profiteroles, chocolate fudge cake and a cookie cup explosion.

Despite the pub being busy during our visit, staff were pleasant and attentive throughout without being too fussy.

The Chesters did introduce charges for its car park a while ago, but you are able to reclaim the fee on buying a drink or meal from the bar.

After not making a visit for so long, we’ll be sure to come back again in the near future.

Five other Sunderland pubs to try for food

•The Engine Room, The Fire Station, Sunderland city centre

The successful renovation of this once derelict site has seen it become a popular pub which doffs its hat to its heritage. Expect hearty portions of classic British dishes, such as a full English, fish and chips, fish finger sandwiches and steak and ale pie.

•The Cliff, Mere Knolls Road, Roker

This well-known pub has built up a reputation for good pub grub in recent years. Its carvery is particularly popular, but there’s also a good choice of other dishes such as corned beef pie.

The Copt Hill, Houghton

This landmark pub has changed hands a lot in recent years, but is now back with former manager Lord Trevor Davis. Expect pub classics, as well as more adventurous choices such as squirrel.

The Ivy House, Worcester Street

Once a popular student haunt, The Ivy House now attracts a varied crowd thanks to its vast drinks offering, which changes regularly, and quality food. An on-site pizza oven makes this Italian classic one of its best dishes.

The Wolsey, Millum Terrace, Roker

This family-run seafront pub has a suntrap of a beer garden on hot days, and also offers proper, home-cooked meals.

Expect hearty curries and more.