Sunderland Restaurant Week

Stuart Forster provides an overview of Sunderland Restaurant Week, during which diners can eat discounted meals in the city’s cafés and restaurants for between £5 and £15.

Sunderland Restaurant Week provides opportunities for North East England food lovers to enjoy a three-course dinner for just £15. Two-course meals at participating restaurants are priced at £10. During the daytime, participating cafés feature £5 offers.

Restaurants on Wearside serve a broad variety of cuisines. In addition to long-popular Indian and Italian restaurants, the area’s offerings include restaurants serving modern British, Egyptian and Turkish dishes. Sunderland Restaurant Week provides dining establishments with an opportunity to showcase their dishes and win new customers. For diners the event is a reason to dine out and try new places.

Cheese burger served with fries at one of the restaurants in Sunderland city centre.
Cheese burger served with fries at one of the restaurants in Sunderland city centre.

Sunderland Restaurant Week

Dining establishments in and around Sunderland city centre are eligible to participate in Sunderland Restaurant Week. During the restaurant week planned for March 2020 restaurants in Seaham and Washington also signed up.

A plate of onion bhajis, a popular anglo-Indian dish, served in a Sunderland restaurant.
A plate of onion bhajis, a popular anglo-Indian dish, served in a Sunderland restaurant.

Organised by Sunderland Business Improvement District, the body commonly known as Sunderland BID, Sunderland Restaurant Week has been held since 2016.

Foodies living in North East England may be familiar with the concept from the twice yearly Newcastle NE1 Restaurant Week. Involving restaurants in Newcastle city centre, that event usually takes place in January and August.

Mexican cuisine served during Sunderland Restaurant Week.
Mexican cuisine served during Sunderland Restaurant Week.

When Sunderland Restaurant Week is held

Typically, the culinary event takes place on Wearside twice a year. One Sunderland Restaurant Week is held in springtime and the other in autumn, usually in March and September. Unfortunately, the coronavirus had a detrimental impact on the hospitality business in 2020 and impacted the restaurant week.

Pinterest pin showing a burger for Go Eat Do's blog post about Sunderland Restaurant Week.
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Restaurants in Sunderland Restaurant Week

Restaurants and cafés participating in Sunderland Restaurant Week are listed on the Sunderland BID website. People wanting to dine at one of the venues are encouraged to make a booking and to download a voucher.

Spicy, blackened chicken burger served at the Number 2 Church Street Sunderland restaurant.
Spicy, blackened chicken burger served at the Number 2 Church Street Sunderland restaurant.

Granny Annie’s at Roker, Sunderland Bowl and The Ivy House have participated in previous restaurant weeks. These bars and restaurants in Sunderland city centre also participate in Sunderland Restaurant Week: 

Asiana Fusion Restaurant

Asiana Fusion Restaurant (Echo 24 Building) has floor-to-ceiling windows providing outstanding views of nearby Wearmouth Bridge and the River Wear. The University of Sunderland’s St Peter’s Campus is on the far side of the river, next to the National Glass Centre.

Sunset over silhouetted Wearmouth Bridge and the River Wear in Sunderland, England.
Sunset over silhouetted Wearmouth Bridge and the River Wear in Sunderland, England.

Asiana’s name hints that dishes served in the restaurant are inspired by cuisines and flavours of Southeast Asia.

The menu includes a mixed platter, ideal for sharing, featuring succulent Peking ribs. Aromatic crispy duck and kung po king prawns count among Asiana’s signature dishes.

The subtly lit Prosecco Bar in Sunderland, England.
Southeast Asian dishes, including Peking spare rib and duck spring roll taken from a sharing platter served at Asiana Fusion Restaurant in Sunderland.

No. 2 Church Lane

No. 2 Church Lane is a casual dining space and bar opposite Sunderland’s Empire Theatre. No prizes for guessing the address (there’s a big clue in the name of the restaurant!) which proves a popular place for pre-show dinners in Sunderland.

The interiors are characterised by walls of exposed brickwork and stone plus chalkboard menus. Since opening in 2016 No. 2 Church Lane has won a reputation for serving quality burgers, including vegetarian and vegan options.

Looking for an informal place to gorge on comfort food? Try this restaurant and order a side of halloumi fries.

Vegetarian burger served fries and salad at No. 2 Church Street , a restaurant well-placed for pre-theatre dinner in Sunderland.
Vegetarian burger served fries and salad at No. 2 Church Street , a restaurant well-placed for pre-theatre dinner in Sunderland.

The Engine Room at The Fire Station

The Engine Room at The Fire Station (High Street West) occupies premises that once hosted Sunderland’s city centre fire station. This explains the firefighters’ helmets displayed on the tiled wall and above the bar.

The menu features pub favourites such as fish and chips, burgers and steaks. Seafood chowder and pulled pork nachos count among the starters and light bites. If you enjoy good beer, it’s worth knowing that The Engine Room stocks a decent selection of hand-pulled ales.

The Engine Room bar and restaurant at The Fire Station in Sunderland, England.
The Engine Room bar and restaurant at The Fire Station in Sunderland, England.

Port of Call

Port of Call (1 Park Lane) is a bar and grill restaurant. If you enjoy smokehouse style dishes look for the barbecued pulled pork and brisket. Pulled pork tops a six-ounce beef patty and cheese to create Port of Call’s smoke stack burger.

A gourmet burger served on a wooden board at Port of Call during Sunderland Restaurant Week.
A gourmet burger served on a wooden board at Port of Call during Sunderland Restaurant Week.

Flatbreads and loaded fries (chips with toppings such as cheese and bacon) feature on the menu. If you enjoy hefty chunks meat you’ll enjoy a making this a port of call.

Grilled sausages drizzled with mustard and served on a wooden board in Sunderland.
Grilled sausages drizzled with mustard and served on a wooden board in Sunderland.

The Prosecco Bar

Sunderland’s subterranean Prosecco Bar is a cocktail lounge at 39 Borough Road.

“Sunderland was known for Indian and Italian cuisine five or six years ago but now the city has a massive array of dining offers,” commented Kam Chera, the owner of The Prosecco Bar.

Kam describes the atmosphere of The Prosecco Bar as ‘boudoir’. Picture mood lighting, alcove seating and low wood-topped tables.

The subtly lit Prosecco Bar in Sunderland, England.
The subtly lit Prosecco Bar in Sunderland, England.

Further information

Follow the #EatDrinkSunderland hashtag on social media to find information about Sunderland Restaurant Week, including food photography posted on Instagram.

View the See it Do It Sunderland website for an overview of attractions on Wearside. Planning a trip to North East England? Check out this informative post about things to do in Sunderland.

Stuart Forster, the author of this post, is a food and travel journalist based in North East England. Born and raised in Sunderland, Stuart knows the region well and is available for editorial and copywriting commissions. His work has been published by BBC Good Food, Great British Chefs and Four.

Chips served in a mug at a restaurant in North East England.
Chips served in a mug as a snack in a bar in North East England.

Photos illustrating this post are by Why Eye Photography.

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A version of this post was first published on Go Eat Do on 30 August 2017.

Pinterest pin showing Sunderland's Wearmouth Bridge for Go Eat Do's blog post about Sunderland Restaurant Week.
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