It’s that time of year again where Sunderland’s culinary scene sees independent restaurants, bars and cafes serving up tantalising dishes for Sunderland Restaurant Week.
From this Saturday until Sunday March 25, foodies can dine out for £5, £10, or £15 at eateries in and around the city centre. In addition to some local favourites, there’s a few new restaurants on the #EatDrinkSunderland menu, and here’s what you can expect from them during Sunderland Restaurant Week.
•El Nido, which means nest, is the perfect way to describe this quaint new restaurant in Frederick Street. While diners can expect a super-cool setting with a laid-back atmosphere, the traditional Mexican dishes are set to heat up your palate. I tried the fire chicken tostada – tostadas are like mini wraps and usually come as a pair, which is great for sharing as a starter.
The tender chicken breast was topped with a spicy sauce, which packed a punch, and a sprinkling of chilli flakes and lay of a bed of delicious avocado and soft tortilla. I love a little heat, but to cool my taste buds I sipped on a freshly made Margarita, which I could have kept drinking all night – it was absolutely divine!
•No2 Church Lane has been on the food scene for a while now, but as a regular I feel like not enough people know about this place. This industrially chic eatery specialises in meat, vegetarian and vegan burgers, and has a pretty impressive beer offering too – I would advise you try the strawberry beer! Its menu isn’t the biggest, but everything on there is created to perfection.
My personal favourite is The Big Mackem – toppling patties with gherkins and caramelised onions, followed by a lavish helping of gooey melted cheese and a special Mackem sauce.
•The Engine Room – the restaurant that everyone in Sunderland is talking about – is a stunning new bar and bistro set in The Fire Station, which has seen a five million pound restoration. This has quickly become the newest cultural venue in the heart of the city centre and since Prince Wills and Kate’s visit, I’ve been dying to taste-test the dishes on offer. Serving up great-quality, hearty cuisine, The Engine Room offers traditional comfort food. While others tucked into fish and chips, and vegan curries, I went for the burger and chips (starting to think I have a slight burger addiction). Ideal for any meat lover, this classic dish was absolutely delicious. To cleanse the palate, I had a Pornstar Martini flavoured sorbet, which was incredibly refreshing.
•The Peacock, previously known as The Londonderry, is the sister restaurant to The Engine Room and has been transformed into a stylish bar and eatery. Here our taste buds were treated to all things sweet, I’m talking a wedge of deliciously creamy carrot cake and gooey chocolate brownie complemented
with jaffa cake ice cream. I didn’t even know jaffa cake ice cream existed, but it was amazing.
•Download the vouchers for Sunderland Restaurant Week at https://www.sunderlandbid.co.uk/