R Bar, Roker Hotel, Sunderland

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“OOOH, I wouldn’t order that,” said the bar staff as I placed my order at R Bar.

“It’s not really value for money,” they added.

These are not the kind of statements that instil a diner with confidence, but I really fancied the sound of the meat and cheese platter on the menu, so I took a risk and ordered it anyway.

My friend Cara, her son Tate and I were on a mission to fill our tummies in preparation for a brisk Sunday afternoon walk along the seafront.

Along with the platter (£10.50), we ordered baked Camembert with artisan bread and ale chutney for (£4.95) and a portion of chunky chips for £1.75.

They are just a selection of bar meals available on the menu which pretty much has something for everyone, whether you’re after a hot winter warmer like chilli con carne (£6.95), or light bites such as nachos (£5.25).

Twenty minutes after we placed our order, someone arrived at the table to say they had run out of Camembert, so we were forced to make another choice and went with half-a-pint of Greenland prawns (£4.95).

By this point my tummy was really rumbling and the sight of other meals being whisked out of the kitchen only made me more hungry.

Though the bar wasn’t particularly busy, it took more than 35 minutes from ordering until our food arrived.

I wanted to complain, but by that point we were all so hungry we just got stuck in.

The food itself saved the day.

Despite the bar staff’s comments, the sharing platter was a tasty treat and was laden with olives, breads, salads, Camembert (presumably the last batch), Brie and a selection of meats.

The feta – which had been advertised as a feature of the board – was missing, but we enjoyed it all the same.

The prawns, presented in a novelty half-pint glass with Marie Rose sauce and toasted bread, were also a resounding success, proving both light and filling.

The chips too were like proper chips: big chunky affairs which were perfect for dipping in ketchup.

Price and taste-wise, we couldn’t grumble, it’s just a shame exceptionally-slow service tainted the meal somewhat.

Katy Wheeler

Twitter: @sunechokaty