Review: Serendipity, Frederick Street, Sunderland

Serendipity, which has just opened in Frederick Street, Sunderland.
Serendipity, which has just opened in Frederick Street, Sunderland.
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TEA lovers are in for a treat at this latest addition to Sunniside.

Rather fittingly, considering the name, I stumbled across Serendipity quite by chance on Saturday as I met one of my oldest pals Katrina for a cuppa and catch-up – and what a find it was.

Step inside and you’re transported to a haven of kitsch 50s decor and vintage charm.

It’s a pleasure to sit in this tea room with its bunting on the walls and trendy take on chintz. It’s the kind of attention to detail you get in hipster hang-outs in the Big Smoke, but it’s the sort of place that’s been missing in Sunderland’s city centre – until now.

Open less than a week on our visit, there was a steady stream of visitors through the doors of this former carpet store who gave off plenty of “oohs” and “ahhs” as they took in their nostalgic surroundings.

The stand-out feature of the menu has to be the tea list.

Each have a locally-inspired name such as Mowbray’s Morning Mix, Earl of Sunderland, Black Cat Special Brew, The Wearside Warmer, Mint Mackem and more.

Unique to Serendipity, all the teas are specially blended and are priced £2.75 for a two-cup pot.

We took ages to decide on our first pot, but went with Mowbray’s Morning Mix.

It was a delightful little blend of Indian Assam Black Tea and Kenyan Milma Black Tea.

It tasted superb and was presented in a vintage tea set from which to sup. Somehow, tea always tastes better when you drink from these dainty receptacles – much better than a mug in my book.

Food-wise, there’s plenty to get your mouth watering. If you’re after something substantial, the whopping baked sweet potatoes filled with chilli, which the couple next to us were ploughing into, looked amazing (£3.60).

There’s also a selection of reasonably-priced brunches, sandwiches, soup of the days etc. which you can eat inside or can take away.

I wasn’t too peckish so chose a cheese and herb scone, which was again pleasantly presented on vintage china with warmed-through rolls of butter.

It was lovely – it had the home-made taste to it and I savoured every last bite.

For those with a sweet tooth, there’s oodles of cakes to choose from including some impressive-looking brownies and caramac cake.

We didn’t want to leave this new-found spot, so ordered another pot of tea. This time we had Sunniside of the Street – a cheerful tea blend of chamomile, lemongrass, rose and sunflower petals.

Families too seemed to enjoy their stay as little visitors were kept occupied by colouring books and a puppet box in the corner. There’s also some good changing facilities for those with bambinos.

Sometimes adults get bored too, and there’s a selection of Sunderland reading material, sudoku and board games to keep them enthralled.

As if that wasn’t enough, Serendipity has a gift shop brimming with retro trinkets such as old-fashioned toys as well as a selection of arts and crafts from local artists and businesses.

As you can tell, I was impressed with this serendipitous find, I imagine its new customers will be too.