SUNNISIDE is an under-appreciated corner of Sunderland.
The millions of pounds spent on its makeover has seen the area transformed from an historic quarter that had seen better days, to what could potentially be a vibrant spot.
Yet still, not many in the city make it their destination for a night out.
Why not, is beyond me. It’s a lovely setting with some fine bars and restaurants – Bar Justice, Angelo’s and Signatures to name a few.
One of those leading the charge to attract visitors to Sunniside is Thai Manor, a place where the excellent service with a smile can only be outdone by the fabulous food.
I visited on a Monday evening with friends, Laura and Helen. We were seated in the sleek and stylish dining area – which has a decor of neutral tones – amid only a sprinkling of diners.
However, the missing customers’ loss was our gain – we had the serving staff’s full attention as we were waited upon at our immaculately laid out table. Attention to detail is obviously key here.
The menu had me stumped – there was so much choice – 90 to be precise, plus banquet options.
Between gossiping and a debrief of Helen’s recent wedding, it took us an age to actually come to a decision from the array of soup, salad, curry, stir-fried, seafood and rice and noodle dishes.
To avoid dish envy, we decided to share starters – the Thai Manor mix appetiser (£10.50) and the goong chup pang taud (£5.50) – deep fried prawns with sweet and sour plum sauce.
The former was exquisitely presented with carved lotus flower-shaped decoration perched alongside a selection of gorgeous nibbly bits – spring roll, satay gai, prawn toast, taud mun plah and toong taung.
Each was delicious, mini-dishes that packed a real punch flavour wise.
For my main meal I was steered by the recommendation of Laura, who’s travelled in and around Thailand. She was going for the pad Thai with chicken so I followed suit and ordered the dish with prawns.
It seems I’ve found a new favourite Thai dish.
A mixture of stir-fried noodles with prawns, egg, bean sprouts, carrots, spring onion and ground peanut, it was a simple dish, but oozed flavour with every mouthful.
It wasn’t as heavy as some of the curry options either, so I wasn’t left with that uncomfortably full feeling.
As an added bonus, it was one of the cheapest main meals at just £8 – top value for money.
Helen too enjoyed her pet/goong ma kam (£12.95) which comes with a choice of either grilled duck breast or king prawn.
Her dish was piled high with delicious duck, which was not too fatty – it was just right.
We didn’t want the meal to end, so ordered a second bottle of house white (£12.95), which, considering it was the cheapest on the menu, was infused with subtle flavours.
In total, our bill came to £69.20, a real bargain for these ladies of the manor.