Preview: Eat Drink Sunderland Restaurant Week

SUNDERLAND eateries are dishing up a host of special deals next week as the city’s third Eat Drink Sunderland Restaurant Week gets underway.

Following the success of two previous events, more than 50 restaurants, bars and cafes are serving up two-courses for £10 and three courses for £15 offers to help showcase what the city has to offer.

Last week, I was among a handful of regional press and bloggers who enjoyed a preview of what some of the city’s leading venues which are taking part have to offer.

I’ll be honest, I’ve not eaten in Sunderland since about 1999 and I wouldn’t even know where to begin, so it was a good chance to see what the place has got going for it these days.

After pre-scoff nibbles and drinks in the Prosecco Bar – so new, it isn’t even open to the public yet – we headed to Restaurant Week regular Asiana in the city’s Echo 24 building.

Asiana served us a platter of starters including spring rolls, ribs and deep fried prawns with a selection of dips…

A Pan Asian restaurant which takes inspiration from Thai, Malaysian and Chinese dishes and ingredients, it’s a really cool venue – try and grab a window table to enjoy a view over the river and bridge.

We were served a selection of starters to get a feel for what customers can enjoy. Our platter featured crispy duck parcels, vegetarian spring rolls, filo king prawns, satay chicken, Peking ribs and crispy seaweed served with sweet chilli, sweet and sour, satay and hoi sin dips.

Despite having already eaten my bodyweight in prawn crackers – they definitely rank among the best I’ve ever tasted – I couldn’t wait to dig in. I’m a huge fan of Chinese food, but generally don’t stray from Stowell Street, so I was curious to see how these compared.

The ribs were, without doubt, the best I have ever had. Not only were they sweet and cooked to perfection, literally falling off the bone, there was a lot of meat on them. Often ribs are just bone with a string of meat but these bad boys were the real deal.

The prawns were fantastic too, and I also enjoyed the spring rolls because the veg was fresh and crunchy, and very tasty.

It was a meaty feast of joy at Port of Call’s new tipi…

In all honesty, I’d have stayed longer and tried more because the food was fantastic. I’m definitely returning soon.

Next we headed for something a little different as we made our way to the back of Port of Call at Park Lane, to eat in its brand new tipi.

Beautifully lit with fair lights, it has its own bar area serving a wealth of tipples and cocktails, and we got to sample an assortment of the venue’s famous meaty treats.

We gorged on burgers, delicious hot dogs and tucked into huge platters covered with ribs, wings, brisket, pulled pork and brisket along with American-style mac and cheese and flatbreads.

I loved the hot dog and the flatbreads, although be warned, the pulled pork with blue cheese packs a hefty punch!

After all that manly meatiness, we were all happy to be winding down the evening at the gorgeous Serendipity, a beautiful café on Frederick Street, which had opened late just for us.

Cake. There really is nothing else that needs to be said…

Here, it was all about sipping tea from dainty china mugs and enjoying a tasty slice of cake, while taking in the kitsch and eclectic décor.

With a choice of cakes – death by chocolate, chocolate brownies, key lime pie, carrot cake and rocky roads to name but a few, this is the perfect place to come for a bit of down time with the girls.

I opted for death by chocolate and it was fantastic. It has that home-made flavour we all love and want from chocolate cake, and I’d certainly recommend it to anyone passing who fancies a spot of afternoon tea.

Asiana, Port of Call and Serendipity are all running special offers throughout Eat Drink Sunderland Restaurant Week, which runs from Saturday September 9 to Sunday September 17.

For full details of all venues taking part and their offers, visit the Sunderland BID website