REVIEW: Dr Feelgood’s, Hylton Riverside, Sunderland

Dr Feelgood's, Sunderland
Dr Feelgood's, Sunderland
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Is food and drink here just what the doctor ordered?

Hair of the dog is what we needed after the last festive night out of the holidays, and this is just the place to get it.

Goats' cheese cones

Goats' cheese cones

Drinks are Dr Feelgood’s forte, with arguably one of the best range of cocktails on offer in the city, and a round of spicy Bloody Marys had us feeling perky enough to tackle the food menu.

The selection is tapas inspired by various corners of the globe, such as patatas bravas with aioli (£3.75) from Spain, za’atar spiced halloumi with eggplant zaalouk (£5.95) from the Middle East and Malaysian spiced salmon with green tea soba noodles and sweet curry mayonnaise (£5.95).

These are foods designed for sharing, so pick two or three each and tuck in.

After the night before, we couldn’t resist the stodge of the patatas bravas, which we chose alongside pork san choy bau (£6.95), goats’ cheese cones (£4.95), salt and pepper squid (£4.95) and two sharer flatbreads, at £6.95.

Serrano ham and pesto flatbread

Serrano ham and pesto flatbread

The generous mound of cubed patatas bravas, not too greasy and just salty enough, was exactly what we needed. The salt and pepper squid, a fine balance of crispy and springy, was a triumph and perfect for dunking in the aioli accompaniment.

At the other end of the scale, however, the goats’ cheese cones were a flaccid flop. Far from the whipped version in the description, these ones limped over the side of the cone. It also seemed odd to be presented with three (one had already been scoffed by the time this photo was taken) in a test tube rack, one for the We Want Plates campaigners there, that was meant for six.

Thankfully, they tasted better than they looked, with a fiery seasoning and a base of quince adding an extra level of flavour.

The pork dish, a bowl of minced meat, with accompaniments of lettuce, chillies and peanuts, tasted great, but we could have done with more than four small lettuce leaves to scoop up the perfectly-tender meat. It was good, but not as good as when I last had this dish.

We fared better with the flatbreads. Our choices of the pulled pork with jalapeños, cheese, chipotle sauce and tomato salsa version and serrano ham with peppers, tomato, rocket and basil pesto were laden with toppings.

With the former, the chipotle sauce gave a complementary kick to that most ubiquitous of modern menu features, pulled pork, while the latter flatbread arrived with satisfying splodges of pesto and sliver upon sliver of serrano ham.

Though some of the restaurant’s dishes seem a little lacklustre compared to previous visits here, the drinks have lost none of their shine.

This menu seems more consistent, with smoking, popping, Hawaiian-inspired concoctions that show real flair.

Prices aren’t cheap, but they’re not outrageous, starting at £5.95. Like the food, the beers also have a global theme, with options that span from American to Belgian brands.

Decor-wise, you can’t fault Feelgood’s. It’s from the same stable as Newcastle’s stylish As You Like It and Florita’s bars and it shows in the attention to detail that’s been paid to making this unit on a retail park resemble a New York speakeasy with its studded leather seating and taxidermy.

Its out of the city centre location means there’s also plenty of free parking - though you’ll need a designated driver or a taxi if you want to truly put that drinks menu to the test.