Review: A tale of two cafes - Sue’s and The Scullery, Roker, Sunderland

Sue's Cafe in Roker.
Sue's Cafe in Roker.
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Let me take you back to a time when Sunderland were still in the Premier League and the sun was shining, even if it wasn’t all that warm.

Faced with finding somewhere to take a friend and her 10-year-old before the match earlier this year, my thoughts turned to Roker.

Sausage, chips and gravy from Sue's Cafe.

Sausage, chips and gravy from Sue's Cafe.

It turned out to be revelation to my out-of-town mate, who was smitten with our seafront, while the lad loved the beach.

Sue’s Cafe won a place in their hearts on that first trip and so when they headed back again, that’s where they wanted to lunch.

If you have a hankering for a sausage, bacon or egg sandwich, or a mix of all three, burger or hotdog, then this is a sure bet.

Better still, the most expensive and packed of those come in at £2.70, so while you might be very full, you’re still likely to have change in your pocket.

Sue's cafe's hot dog in a bun.

Sue's cafe's hot dog in a bun.

On that last trip, two rounds of chips, gravy and sausage, a hot dog and three drinks came in at just £12.10.

The 10-year-old was made up with his dinner, while we were stuffed with the satisfying hit of stodgy hot comfort food.

The sausages served up here are quite herby and are especially good in a bun.

Quiche, pie, jacket potatoes and chicken curry and rice are also on the menu for £4.

The Scullery in Marine Walk.

The Scullery in Marine Walk.

Sue’s clearly has a loyal following and I can see why thanks to its no-nonsense food and friendly staff. Something which also caught my attention were orders for Bovril and black pepper, which is a new one on me, but it’s appears to be a favourite for customers.

The only down side is it’s not inside, but there is a roofed area around the back to keep out of the elements and there’s seating available outside, even at this time of year.

But this is really a tale of two cafes.

The reason I pass on word of Sue’s is because of a visit down there with my parents the other day. My friend, who is out of work at the moment, had decided against The Scullery when she compared prices, despite me telling her I’d be footing the bill.

Beef ciabatta, gravy and chips from The Scullery.

Beef ciabatta, gravy and chips from The Scullery.

Having missed out, I suggested a family visit and while we waited for our order, we spotted people tucking into plates of lovely looking dishes, from well-filled baked potatoes and omelettes to pudding out of a Tate and Lyle golden syrup tin.

But our food missed the mark.

Somehow, the hot beef ciabatta, gravy and chips looked nice, but didn’t taste of anything, which I did mention to staff as we left, while dad said the same of his club sandwich. Those, plus three hot drinks, came in at just a few pennies under £30.

We’re lucky there is a choice of places down at Marine Walk, just two of them – Fausto and Love Lily are still among on my to-try list – and there’s something for every taste and budget.

But for my £1.70 sausage sandwich plus a £1 mug of tea, I know which one is for me so far.

Fiona Thompson

The view over Roker proved a win with visitors to the city.

The view over Roker proved a win with visitors to the city.