Sink Your Teeth Into Sunderland - A Look At Sunderland Restaurant Week 2020* (AD)

14 Mar 2020

This meal was gifted by Sunderland BID. All opinions are my own.

Who the heck do I think I am? I indulge myself in Teesside Restaurant Week back in February, and I come storming into March with a post about Sunderland Restaurant Week! I've said it a fair amount on here, but Teesside is my comfort zone. I know the places that I like to eat at and I have a few places here on my list to try, but Sunderland is somewhere that I don't think I've actually ever been to. Sure, I've been to the Sunderland Empire to catch a show, but if someone were to ask me where was goo to eat there, I wouldn't have the foggiest. That's exactly the reason why I jumped at the chance to go on a Safari Supper with Sunderland BID in the name of Restaurant Week and find out more about the city!

Before I dive in and tell you about all the places I got to visit and try out, let me share some of the details about Sunderland Restaurant Week. You'll be able to wander through the city from March 21st - 29th and grab a meal from as little as £5, £10 or £15 per person. Yes, you absolutely read that right... £5! This means that there's something for every kind of budget, so definitely head over to the website to check out the full list of participating restaurants and cafes. I promise you, there will be something that takes your fancy, whether you're in the mood for Asian cuisine, a slice of cake or a good pub meal.

Cocktails - Ttonic Bar & Kitchen

Starting off the Safari Supper in style, we kicked off proceedings in Ttonic Bar & Kitchen, a modern spot with beautiful wood furnishings and fake foliage adorning the ceilings. This is a great place if you're driving into Sunderland, as it's just opposite the Bridges car park! Serving up a whole host of inventive and classic cocktails, as well as a mix of food, including pasta, burgers and small plates, it's brilliant for all palates!

At Ttonic, we got to try out two of the new cocktails, which were themed around superfoods, the first being the Cucumber Gimlet*, a fresh mix of Prosecco, gin, soda, lime, sugar and cucumber slices. This is definitely a drink that would appeal to those of us who like a little bit of freshness in our glasses, as well as the antioxidant benefits that come from cucumber! This cocktail was a little bit too easy to drink and I'd polished off my glass in no time at all - it was truly beautiful.
We also got to sample the I Can't Bee-Lieve It cocktail*, which is an original and exclusive drink to Ttonic, created by the bar's fabulous mixologist. This concoction consisted of Limoncello, cazcabel honey, manuka honey, vanilla and a slice of lemon - it was basically a cough curer in a glass. As soon as I gave it a sniff, I thought 'this smells exactly like Soothers' and it almost tasted like it too, in the nicest way possible. It was sweet from the honey with a hint of tang from the lemon, and had the smoothness of syrup. It's certainly an interesting mix, so if you go along, try it out.

These brand new cocktails will be hitting the menu in spring, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled! You also need to be on the lookout for Ttonic's new vegan food options too, including mushroom risotto, beetroot and cheese wrap, and the meat-free American burger!

Starters - Grosvenor Casino

I know exactly what you're thinking, because I thought the same. Food from a casino? A bit unusual, I know, but hear me out. What if I told you that you could go to Grosvenor Casino, pay £5, receive two small plates, a pint of Coors, Carling cider or soft drink, and a £10 lucky number bet? Literally for a fiver. It's a difficult one to say no to, especially if you're feeling lucky! Now, I've never set foot in a casino, so I had no idea what to really expect from the food offering, but I was pleasantly surprised.
The Grosvenor small plates menu has a lovely little selection of dishes, including chorizo and halloumi skewers, crispy pork bites, nachos and chicken satay*, as well as more healthy options, like prawn salad or crumbled feta cheese salad*. Our little clan of six bloggers were lucky enough to get to sample every single one, so the table was totally overflowing with food and I got to try all of the bits that took my fancy. For me, the skewers and pork bites totally stole the show. I'm a sucker for halloumi, so pairing it with chorizo is basically a match made in heaven. The chorizo juices had started to coat the halloumi - it was as good as it sounds. As for the pork bites, they were coated in a Korean sauce, making them sticky, but sweet. The meat basically melted in my mouth and I couldn't resist eating more and more. I could've quite easily snaffled the whole bowl to myself!

Now, I'm absolutely not saying that if you're looking for a fine dining meal that you should check out the casino. It's definitely not for people in that vein, but if you're someone who wants to go somewhere for something quick to eat and have a bit of fun, it's ideal for you. Think about a lads night out or a hen do - it's the perfect spot! Plus, with the Restaurant Week deal, it'd be a pretty cheap night out, especially if you end up winning with the lucky number bet!

Mains - Victors

After eating our fill at Grosvenor Casino, we all jumped into a taxi and headed to Victors, a sports type bar and eaterie just next door to the Travelodge, so it's the perfect choice if you're travelling to the city. With a whole host of real ales and a menu full of good pub food, it's a restaurant that is ideal for those of us who are after a hearty meal in a relaxed setting. With burgers, pizza, steaks and even a parmo, there's plenty to choose from and something that will appeal to even the fussiest eater.

Like our starters, the restaurant were kind enough to give us a sample of a huge range of their main courses, so we dug into two different pizzas, potato skins, veggie meatballs, one minute steak salad, lasagne* and so much more. It was a true feast and there was barely any room left on the table!

While we had so much to choose from, it was the one minute steak salad that stood out to me. The steak was cooked exactly the way I like it - still pink and juicy in the middle. It was seasoned beautifully and paired up ever so perfectly with the salad. It was something that I could definitely see myself eating again and even trying to recreate at home. I also need to give a special shout out to the ridiculously cheesy and saucy lasagne, which went down a treat around the whole table, and the chicken strips, which had a light coating of crisp breadcrumbs and the softest, tender chicken inside. I could honestly eat them with a garlic dip forever!

If that's tickled your fancy, then good news! You'll be able to grab three courses at Victors for just £15, which is a total steal when you consider how huge the portions were. I'd recommend booking for this one because I expect it'll be a busy one, but beware - it gets pretty loud on a game night!

Dessert - Pati Cake Patisserie

I can't lie, all six of us were absolutely stuffed by this point, but we persevered on to our final destination of the night, Pati Cake Patisserie. Everyone seemed absolutely buzzing to go along to this cake shop, but me being the only Teessider in the group, I had no clue what to expect or where it was that we were going. All I knew was that it warranted another taxi journey to the outskirts of the city. When we jumped out, we were greeted with an unusual little cafe with huge open windows, where we could see the huge assortment of cakes on offer before we'd even stepped through the door.

This little family-run patisserie boast shelves upon shelves of three and four-tiered cakes, all baked from scratch, as well as slices, tray bakes, pastries and of course, a range of hot drinks. It's clear that everybody there absolutely loves what they do and take great pride in the treats that they create. We were given free reign and allowed to choose whatever we would like for our desserts, which is always a dangerous game when I'm around.
Both me and Gemma from Gemma's Little World were interested in trying more than just one cake, so we agreed to get something different each, then split. While that was a lovely idea, we both struggled to choose! After a lot of um-ing and ahh-ing, Gemma went for a slice of white chocolate cheesecake*, which was super light and creamy with an unmissable taste of white chocolate. Sometimes, it can be difficult to get the white chocolate flavour through, but this cheesecake hit the nail on the head. The curls on top definitely helped, but also added a fun layer of texture! Despite being full, I managed to polish off my half of the cheesecake slice, as well as finishing off Gemma's leftovers. I've always said that I'm a dessert person!

For my choice, I opted for the Oreo cake*. I really wanted to sample one of the four-tiered cakes because in my mind, there was just no way that they could be as delicious as they looked. But boy, was I wrong! The Oreo cake was absolutely unbelievable and featured vanilla sponge dotted with Oreo pieces, vanilla cream studded with more Oreo pieces and a coating all around the outside of crushed Oreos. Basically, you had to be an Oreo fan to enjoy this, which I most definitely am. It wasn't overly sweet, which is ideal when you're eating a massive piece of cake, and it wasn't dry in the slightest. It was just downright beautiful!

While Pati Cake Patisserie is slightly out of the centre, it's somewhere that I recommend you try, particularly if you're interested in showing support to local businesses. If you can't stop in to eat your treats, the lovely owners will let you take away, I have no doubt about that, so go along and pick up one of their brilliant bakes.
If any of my Teesside followers were looking for a perfect excuse to get out of the area for a little bit, then this is it! Get yourself up to Sunderland and give Sunderland Restaurant Week a go! Like I mentioned, there are tons of restaurant and cafe options with cuisines to suit a range of palates. You could easily make a whole day of it and spend time out from eating to explore the city or catch a show at the Empire!

After having a little look about at some of the foodie options in Sunderland, courtesy of the lovely people at Sunderland BID and Sorted PR, it's made me that little bit more curious about all the other eateries in the city. I just wonder what I'm missing out on! So if you have any suggestions about yummy places to eat in Sunderland, definitely let me know. I'm looking for any excuse to head back that way and discover other tasty spots!

Sunderland Restaurant Week will be running from 21st March to 29th March. Take a look at the Sunderland BID website for the full list of participating restaurants.

All items that are marked with a * have been sent to me or gifted by a PR company for review purposes.

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