Granted, there is work being carried out to change and improve Sunderland’s seafront. But what it could really do with is an injection of daytime cafes and bars.
Coastal cousin Seaham seems to have hit this nail right on the head and sunny days bring out hundreds of diners who it’s common to see queuing to get tables at its good selection of cafes.
Despite having a bigger stretch of beach, Sunderland lags behind.
Though there are Indian and Italian restaurants for evening meals, there’s much less choice for lunch munchers.
Jayelle’s, however, is like an oasis in the desert.
Being able to enjoy good, fresh, affordable food is the cherry on the top of visits to the beach during our mini heat wave – and Jayelle’s provides just that.
I hadn’t been to the cafe and coffee shop since it opened a couple of years back, but it always seems to be bustling whenever I’ve driven past.
On this Tuesday lunchtime we managed to bag an outdoor seat at one of the bonny mosaic tables, though our al fresco dining experience was tainted somewhat by the building’s scaffolding. Still, like mad dogs and Englishmen, we shuffled our outdoor seats slap bang in the centre of the midday sun’s rays.
For those wanting to avoid the sun, the interior is a welcoming affair, filled with rustic nick nacks and cosy tables.
The food menu has nothing too out of the ordinary but it offers a wider selection than most cafes of its ilk with a range of breakfasts, soups, jacket potatoes, salads, pastas, hot and cold sandwiches.
For those after a heartier bite, there’s specials including lasagna (£7.95) and home-made steak pie (£8.95). For little legs, you can pick up more kid-friendly choices such as chicken dippers for £5.50.
Mind made up, I headed indoors to order – though I was seriously tempted by some of the giant scones at the counter. That day’s special was a plate laden with giant glorious-looking goat’s cheese and chorizo scones which looked as though they were fresh out the oven.
I stuck with my first choice though – a tomato, mozzarella and pesto toastie for £4.95.
You wouldn’t think there’d be much to say about a toastie, it’s a run of the mill lunch choice normally. But this one was head and shoulders above most sarnies – mostly thanks to the chunkiest chips I’ve had that side of the Wear and a coleslaw that was even better than my mother’s home-made version. Fresh, flavoursome, crunchy – it was the perfect accompaniment to my tasty toastie and there was plenty of it to boot.
If Carlsberg did chips they would be these: huge slabs of potato, not laden in grease – and a large portion will only set you back £2.50.
I don’t have a sweet tooth but, if I did, I would have more than likely tucked into one of the Dime bar or Snickers cakes (£3.50).
On my way out, I noticed a sign promoting a new Saturday night tapas menu boasting Mediterranean morsels including whitebait and Spanish omelette – one of many reasons why I’ll be back, whatever the weather.