After an afternoon spent amidst the pulsating lights of the arcades and a race along Roker beach, two pairs of weary little legs were in need of a refuel – and we also had two children in tow.
Finding a family-friendly restaurant for an evening meal can be a minefield. Does it have high chairs? Does it have baby change? Does it have a ramp for a pram? Will the venue mind if the rug rats make a mess with their sticky digits? I could go on.
The Scullery at Pier Point, however, helps you navigate these dining dilemmas with ease.
There were plenty of happy-looking pint-sized patrons tucking into meals when we entered at about 5.30pm with my friend’s six and two-year-old – always a promising sign that no eyebrows will be raised if they decided to throw a strop about sharing their chips.
Though, for those with younger children, there’s only one pram allowed in at a time. Others can park in the porch.
If the name Scullery is familiar it’s because this is a sister venue to the original Scullery in Silksworth, which has already built up a strong reputation for its fuss-free Italian and family fare.
The decor will ring a bell too – aside from a touch up and change of branding, little has changed from its previous guise as The Beach House. But it didn’t need to, the retro beach hut and nautical-theme, peppered with scenes of yesteryear Roker and Seaburn, has always worked well at this seafront site – even if the food was a more hit and miss affair before. And then there’s those views.
With its ceiling to floor windows overlooking Roker Pier as it meanders its ways out to sea, you’d be hard pushed to find a finer vista.
We arrived in time to choose from the daytime menu, with an a la carte evening offering due to be launched soon.
There’s plenty to whet your appetite with a range of breakfasts, jacket potatoes, salads, sandwiches, burgers and sharing platters.
We got stuck straight in with mains, which are a good range of hearty classics such as hunters chicken (£9.95) and spaghetti Bolognese (£7.95).
There’s plenty for kids to choose from, with my friend’s two boys choosing to build their own wraps (£4.50).
It’s a simple concept: the chicken, salad, wraps and cheese is served “deconstructed” and the kids enjoyed piling them together and dunking them in the accompanying sauce.
While that kept them busy, I waded through a huge portion of halloumi and vegetable skewers (£8.95).
Restaurants often skimp on this classic Cypriot cheese, but there was dense chunk upon chunk of the stuff in this dish. Instead of being fried, it had that moriesh grilled crunch, that makes it the cheese of choice for barbecues.
The Scullery has certainly raised the bar food-wise since taking over. My only quibble was with the side of bread and butter which was, essentially, a thick-cut toast.
Puddings made up for the dough disappointment, with a veritable Willy Wonka display of sundaes and ice creams.
Eyes as wide as saucers, the kids were delighted with their choices of strawberry sundaes. A third of it ended up slopped on the table as they tucked in with gusto, but no one batted an eyelid.
If that wasn’t enough to win them over, children are presented with a bag of penny chews in a candy cane-striped bag as they leave. (After a day of child care I could have done with the sugar rush myself).
For family dining, The Scullery was a sweet success.