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  • Sunderland Restaurant Week

    Sunderland Restaurant Week

    Sunderland Restaurant Week Preview

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    Sunderland Restaurant Week

    Bloggers’ Safari Supper

     

    March 2019

     

    I popped my Sunderland Restaurant Week back in September last year and had a great time enjoying what the city’s culinary scene had to offer. Fast forward to March 2019 and I’m heading out on my second bloggers’ launch night for the bi-annual event and even more excited.

    As I work in Sunderland, but live in Gateshead, I rarely go out for tea as I’m heading straight to the gym, home or for plans with friends – that paired with a busy job, I don’t get time to really explore the city’s foodie scene after dark and tend to stick to what I know if I’m out for lunch anywhere.

    An evening of grazing and gassing in Sunderland with like-minded foodies and bloggers was just the ticket.

     

    The Arrival

     

    We met in Ps and Qs for our welcome drink and initial briefing  https://www.instagram.com/psandqslounge/ - which was somewhere I hadn’t been before. We were presented with exciting, colourful and tropical looking cocktails and mocktails. It was a mocktail for me as I was driving. Boo.

     

    Ps and Qs was quirky with a capital Q. It was a kooky and kitch setting – I’ll definitely head there next time I go for drinks in town.

     

    We were then given a quick overview of the venue by the lovely bar staff, followed by introductions and thanks from Sunderland BID, who had organised the safari supper and have run every restaurant week since it started three years ago.  –  We were then allocated our groups and restaurants and set out in search of our first Safari Supper venue.

     

    Starters

    Thai Bay, Sunniside

    There were five of us in our group and our first stop was Thai Bay for, where I’ve actually been twice before and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s like a little Bangkok hideaway on Sunniside and makes you feel like you’ve been transported to a tropical South East Asia from a cold windy Sunderland.

    The lovely owner and chef came out with the ubiquitous prawn crackers (like I’d be angry if there weren’t crackers as standard, so points won), both meat and veggie spring rolls, swiftly followed by two giant platters with a fish and veg starter selection and a meat starter selection.

    The fish platter included king prawns, Thai fish cakes, mini spring rolls, crunchy calamari, with a light salad and two dip accompaniments. The meat platter featured sticky ribs, dim sum style steamed dumplings, more mini spring rolls and chicken satay, again with dip accompaniments.

    I must express my initial delight of Thai Bay’s appreciation for the requirement of something moist with every dish!

    Everything we ate was utterly delicious and every flavour in each element was identifiable, fresh and fragrant. It was absolutely evident that everything here was made fresh and to order. The owner himself said that he prided himself on using only fresh ingredients and said that he cooks every dish from fresh himself. If I wasn’t married….I tell you!

    Thai Bay is both an impressive asset and a real credit to Sunderland city centre.

    Suitably satisfied, our group headed off across to our next venue for the main event.

     

    Mains

    Grosvenor Casino, High Street East

    At the age of 36, this was the second time I had been in an actual casino in my entire life. They’re not my thing, however it’s great if you’re going to the cinema or for drinks in town and would like some food in a pleasant and welcoming setting.

    A warm welcome was exactly what we got when we arrived. The table was neatly set and ready for us, with special printed menus to show us what we’ve be having a selection of for our main courses. There was a slight problem, however, in that we were basically having  sample of everything on the menu! Normally this wouldn’t be an issue, but with a belly full of Thai starters and dessert to follow the mains, I was worried we’d waste the food!

    The food kept coming….and coming, but was all super tasty and initially in smaller bowls and plates, so psychologically more achievable. Chorizo and halloumi skewers, panko prawns, onion rings and chicken wings made up just some of the first half of the main course and all went down well. In fact we were a bit smug as we thought we’d done a good job of putting the bait away, right until actual sized plates of food were brought out. We were nervous, but all nodded, gave ourselves a mental pep talk and continued on.

    The first dish was a steak, so that was easy to say yes to, followed by a beef burger and chicken burger and an Asian inspired seabass dish. The steak was well cooked and everyone enjoyed the burgers, with my particular favourite being the seabass, which was beautifully cooked.  We thought that this must now be the end, but then out came some dishes. The fear was now becoming very real – but thankfully we’d reverted back to the small plates and were served salmon caesar salad and mini fish and chips. All were very nice and well cooked.

    At this point the group’s pace and overall physical abilities had slowed right down, but as we had run over for time we had to move to our final destination for dessert.

    Clinging to the hope that humans do in fact have a second stomach for dessert, we faced the wind once more and marched on over to our final destination.

     

    Dessert

    808 Bar and Kitchen, St Thomas’ Street

    I’m a big fan of this place, and not just for the unrivaled décor and the hilarious names they’ve given their dishes - the grub’s really nice too, but I hadn’t had a dessert from there before. They kept it simple and relevant and made a trough full of pancakes; all with different toppings such as cream egg, kinder bueno, reese’s peanut butter cups and strawberries and cream.

     

    My stomach had told my brain that it could take no more, but my brain fought back when it saw the fluffy, battery wonders in front of me. Make me pancakes and smother them with molten chocolate bars abd I’m going to eat them…obvs.

    The pancakes were thick, but lovely and light, with each stack was cemented with a moist, melty spread of some kind. I had a sample of each stack and found that my favourite was the crème egg.

     

    Have you eaten your way through Sunderland or taken advantage of Restaurant Week? Please let me know what you thought below.

     

    If you’re heading out this week, don’t forget to tag Sunderland BID and use the hashtag #eatdrinksunderland

     

    Happy Eating!

     

    *Sunderland Restaurant Week is held twice a year in Sunderland city centre and is organised by Sunderland Business Improvement District, who also run a number of other events and initiatives in Sunderland city centre throughout the year. Visit their website here and give them a follow in Instagram  

     


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