REVIEW: The Scullery/Cucina, Silksworth Lane, Sunderland

The Scullery
The Scullery
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SOME places just get it right. The Scullery is one of those.

The cafe-cum-restaurant has been creating a buzz about the city since it opened its doors six months ago.

The former cafe in Silksworth has been taken over by businesswoman Hayley Scott, who – along with her partner Simon Tuckwell – has given the building a new lease of life.

They’ve ploughed their savings into it, and the only original feature that remains is the wood flooring.

Quirky lights hang from the ceiling from red ropes, tables are dressed with trendy trinkets and an exposed brick fireplace creates a relaxed vibe.

More importantly, the staff all wear smiles upon their faces and service isn’t just service, it’s a friendly affair.

By day the venue is a bistro, a “jolly decent eatery” so says the slogan on the menu. By night, it turns into Italian restaurant, Cucina. Swing singer Joshua James serenaded diners as my friend and I perused the evening menu.

A group of diners in the corner sat swaying their hands in the air. The intimate dining experience may not be to everyone’s taste, but the soothing sounds of Joshua’s Sinatra-style tones add to the character of this place.

On the menu you’ll find everything from traditional Italian dishes such as pasta and pizza, to lamb cutlets (£15.95) and fillet steak (£17.95).

After our pre starter-cocktails, my friend and I settled on king prawns with garlic, chilli and ginger (£6.25) and vodka scallops (£7.95). Feeling hungry, we also pipped for a garlic bread with caramelised balsamic onion and Italian cheese. We needn’t have.

The portion sizes were more than generous and my large bowl was filled with three super succulent prawns, served with saffron rice. Ginger can have a powerful punch in a dish if too much is used, but the subtle hints were the perfect complement to the chilli and garlic.

Fillet bismack, from the seasonal specials menu, was what my friend opted for as her main. At £19,95, this was the second most expensive dish on the menu, but the mighty 10oz of prime fillet steak - topped with pan-fried eggs and grilled asparagus – was worth every penny, she said.

Chicken aristocratic was what I plumped for and the pan-fried chicken breast with king prawns cooked in a creamy bisque certainly hit the spot. Although some bisques can be a tad too creamy for my liking, this one was light, highly-seasoned and delicious.

A glass of fizz and a few more cocktails later, we were struggling to find space for desserts, so instead, we sat back, relaxed and joined in with the arm waving while Joshua finished off his set.