Chain pubs aren’t renowned for great food: their menus can often be home to frozen foods and plates of pile-em-high stodge.
Revolution turns that stereotype on its head.
Like most bars, there’s still stodge to be found for those in need of a dish that will soak up last night’s alcohol. But its menu, which changes seasonally, also boasts a more left field approach to chain pub grub with additions such as chicken katsu and chicken and sweetcorn chowder.
Mid-week trade in Sunderland city centre isn’t always booming, but Revolution always seems to reel in the hungry punters.
Probably because before the loud beats kick in later in the evening, around 9pm, it’s a welcoming laid-back bar-cum-eatery.
Tables are set for dining with candles and plants (which are removed before the rowdier late evening revellers make an entrance).
We took a pew at one of the booths where you get table service, making this feel more like a restaurant than a bar.
This autumn’s menu is designed for sharing and we did just that with the Revolution Mezze (£11.95).
It’s a pretty dish – a chunky wooden board laden with pots that are perfect for dunking.
Flat bread in hand, you can dip into houmous, tzatziki, olive oil and balsamic vinegar and top liberally with cubes of goats cheese, sun-blushed tomatoes and olives.
The Mediterranean-inspired flavours work well together and there’s plenty of pick’n’mix morsels to divvy up between two of you.
For mains, the menu’s fairly heavy on healthy options with plenty of choice for vegetarians and an Under 500 Calories section for those watching their waistlines.
Steering clear of the more sinful burger and pizza options, I went for the green salad with goats cheese (£8.95).
The dish does what it says on the tin: layers of green veg: peashoots, lettuce, cucumber green peppers, spring onions, parsley, basil, mint and apple punctuated with goats cheese. Even the side dressing, guacamole, adheres to the green dress code.
Limp lettuce can be a taste bud turn off, but this option tasted fresh and zingy.
There’s also a range of new cocktails to cleanse your palate including the Kentucky Derby (whiskey shaken with amaretto, raspberry purée, cranberry juice and topped with ginger beer) which is £7.50.
For fans of vodka, Revolution Sunderland will be celebrating National Vodka Day on Saturday with the world’s biggest free round. At 7pm, every customer in its 53 bars nationwide will be given a free flavoured shot. Bottoms up.