This post is a comprehensive guide to the ever-popular and bi-annual Sunderland Restaurant Week where you can experience top quality food across the city for discounted prices.
Regular readers of the blog may recall that I was invited along to taste test a few restaurants ahead of the Sunderland Restaurant Week in September 2021 and, now 12 months on, I’m back to check out the latest offerings to the Sunderland food scene.
Since I was last in Sunderland, there has been further, significant investment into the city which seems to be completely revitalising the area. It’s fair to say that I haven’t been a frequent visitor to Sunderland with living in Durham and often driving through to Newcastle but, honestly, I feel that that is about to change. The city centre has plenty of independent cafes, top quality restaurants and is now attracting big name chains to the city such as the Botanist which will open soon.
How Sunderland Restaurant Week Works
Sunderland Restaurant Week is the highlight of the every foodies calendar in that, twice a year in March and September, you can dine at top restaurants across the city or visit one of the many cafes during the day and take advantage of deals which save significant amounts of money. The last restaurant week of 2022 will take place from 17th to 25th September.
All participating restaurants/bars/cafes will offer deals whether that be for £5/£10/£15. For example, you may be able to grab a coffee and a cake for just £5, have a two course meal for just £10 or go all out for a £15 offering which might be for three courses or something more unique to that particular restaurant.
First, take a look through the full list of participating bars, restaurants and cafes over on Sunderland Bid’s website. There may be somewhere that you’ve had on your list for a while or you may find inspiration through this article or the list itself.
Once you’ve made a decision on where to go, I would highly recommend booking a table as Sunderland Restaurant Week is always incredibly popular both with locals and visitors from around the North East.
Lastly, and probably most importantly, make sure you download or print the voucher from Sunderland Bid’s website and present that at the restaurant when ordering. No-one wants to miss out on this deal do they!
THE BEST OF SUNDERLAND RESTAURANT WEEK 2022
As mentioned above, I was kindly invited back to experience a few different places ahead of the launch of Sunderland Restaurant Week; a bit like a mini-tour of some of the best places on offer. Whilst I received complimentary food and drink, all opinions are my own.
My Delhi is an award winning restaurant serving up authentic Indian street food that’s just expanded into Sunderland’s thriving foodie scene. What an addition this is! In two separate awards, My Delhi won the UK’s best street food restaurant of the year for 2021 and were winners of BBC’s Britain’s Top Takeaways.
This is not your typical Indian; you won’t find a korma or a madras on the menu. Instead, you’ll find dishes that have simply been plucked from the streets of Delhi and transported to the North East of England. The main menu is split into a few different sections; Street Plates, Tandoori Street Plates and Roadside Stall which offer something for everyone. I’m a huge fan of ordering a selection of dishes so that you can try as much as possible and the Street Plates are ideal for that.
We were proudly introduced to the menu by chef and co-owner Gaurav who ran through the inspiration for the dishes plus what to expect as we were working our way through the menu. Things were kicked off with a basket of papadams and six homemade dips which included mint yoghurt and mango chutney alongside some a little spicier. We tried so many street plates it was hard to keep track but let me tell you this; they were actually all incredible. So, in no particular order, we had Samosa Chaat, Cauliflower Manchurian, Onion Bhajis, Amritsari Fish, Chilli Chicken, Paneer Tikka and Delhi Chicken Tikka.
There’s a good range of drinks too – I had the Malabar IPA whilst there are plenty of cocktails, mocktails and spirits. Keeping things very authentic, it was nice to see Thums Up (an Indian cola drink) on the menu plus chai tea (freshly brewed in house) and mango lassi.
For the Sunderland Restaurant Week, My Delhi offer two options both priced at £15 – Option A is the choice of three street plates whilst Option B is one street plate, one roadside stall dish and rice. You also get a selection of the Chef’s Surprise Nibbles to share for the table…
You can check out My Delhi’s special menu here and download your voucher.
THE ENGINE ROOM
The Engine Room is a pretty unique bar and restaurant housed in the old fire station which dates back to 1908. The fire station has been beautifully restored and offers a wide range of drinks and food that you can enjoy whether you are visiting the theatre next door or not. The Fire Station, as the whole venue is known as, features a brand new auditorium (550 seated, 800 standing) where you can catch live music, comedy and theatre shows.
Anyway, this post is about Sunderland Restaurant Week so we headed to the Engine Room where we sampled all of the starters and all of the main courses on offer. There’s two options here again; either two courses for £15 or three small plates for £15. I’d go with the two courses for £15 choosing the bourbon glazed pork belly bites to start before moving on to the Korean BBQ chicken burger. There are desserts too if you have more of a sweet tooth; the homemade caramel apple pie with a crumble topping and custard is definitely the one for me.
Check out the Engine Room’s menu here and, as above, you can download the voucher here too.
GRINDER COFFEE CO
The final stop on our evening in Sunderland was at Grinder Coffee Co which had opened late for us inside the Hill Arts Centre on Waterloo Place. There’s a second Grinder Coffee location on Durham Road with the whole building painted in that classic yellow. I’ve been meaning to come across to Sunderland to scratch off a few final places on my coffee tour of the city so I was pleased to see that we would be able to visit.
Despite it being 9pm at night and despite having work in the morning, I decided to opt for a Flat White which was lovely but did prevent me from getting to sleep until midnight… I also learnt that the Pink Slice is a Sunderland delicacy so it would have been rude of me not to try one. A Pink Slice has a layer of jam between two shortbread biscuits with the top slathered in pink icing. I loved it though I’m not sure that makes me a honourary Mackem just yet.
During Sunderland Restaurant Week make sure you head to either of the two locations as you’ll be able to grab a coffee and a brownie/traybake for just £5. If you can stretch to £10, you can add a sandwich as well!
For more information, just head to Sunderland Bid’s website here.
OTHER NOTABLE MENTIONS
There are plenty of other places around Sunderland offering great deals during the Restaurant Week. I really fancy burgers at 2 Church Lane (I meant to go back last year but never made it in the end) & pizzas at Fausto Coffee in Roker (2 pizzas for £15).
That wraps up my guide to Sunderland Restaurant Week for 2022 – if you have any questions at all, just let me know in the comments below.
READ MORE ABOUT MY ADVENTURES IN THE UK BELOW
I was kindly invited to experience a few different places ahead of the launch of Sunderland Restaurant Week. Whilst I received complimentary food and drink, all opinions are my own.