A Thaikhun Birthday


When Mark and I were talking about Caitlin’s 10th Birthday day out we decided that we would like for her to try something different for lunch. She is like Libby and really doesn’t venture much further than her comfort zone, also, like Penny she eats little and often.

A few months ago I won a takeaway from Thaikhun and have been longing to go back and try their Main Menu since. When I mentioned it to Mark he thought it was a good idea so I contacted them to arrange a booking. The customer service was perfect from the beginning and after a brief discussion we were booked in for 2pm.

We arrived at Intu MetroCentre and headed straight up to Thaikhun. Our timings were slightly out due to the road closures that occur when the Great North Run is in action, but we still got there on time.

First impressions speak a thousand words and Caitlin and Mark were both drawn on with the décor from the outside. From the old style dial TV’s, to the pallets on the walls and from the letters on the walls, to the sacks hanging from the ceiling, it all tells a story. Mark found himself tweeting Thaikhun asking them to come and decorate for us, he was so taken by what he saw.


When we arrived we were seen by their very lovely Manager who apologised that our table wasn’t quite ready and would we like a drink whilst we waited. So we sat down and enjoyed the inside of the restaurant and watching the world go by.

Getting seated didn’t take long and our table was lovely. The Manager went through the Menu with us, explained the dishes and the Children’s Menu. The children are given and activity sheet and have three options for their meal and it looks like this………..


With option two you choose an option from each column, hence creating your own meal. We liked how simple the options were, like I said Caitlin likes plain food that she can add sauce too. She went with the third option of Chicken and Rice and order some sweet BBQ sauce to go with it.

Mark and I however were not as easily decided. For a couple who love so many different types of food, this was heaven but we only could choose one thing. So after much deliberation we went for a starter platter for three, for Main Course I went with the Chicken Massaman Curry (which comes with Jasmine Rice) and Mark went with the Chilli Beef, this did not come with a side dish so Mark ordered a portion of noodles. The lovely Lauren took our order and looked after us for the rest of our visit. All the staff were lovely throughout and give the impression that they love their jobs.

One thing I do love is an open kitchen, maybe that is the nosey side of me, maybe I like to see what my food is doing but to see that the kitchen was open was a delight. While we waited for oue starter Mark took a quick picture…..


Then our starter arrived………


Sukumvit 39 Platter

The platter consisted of Thai Fish Cakes, Spring Rolls, Honey Pork and Steamed Vegetable Dumplings. These were served with dipping sauce.

The presentation is fantastic and fits in with the surroundings so well. We got stuck in and Caitlin sampled everything, which we were over the moon with. Mark and I got stuck in and every ounce of it was lovely. (I was slightly concerned that I had eaten a little too much starter and also concerned that I wouldn’t have room for pudding at the end).

The wait in between courses was perfect.


Helping Caitlin with The National Geographic activity sheet we were occupied when our Main Courses arrived.


Fried Chicken with Jasmine Rice, Vegetable Sticks and Sweet BBQ Sauce


Chicken Massaman Curry with Jasmine Rice (Curry flavoured with Cinnamon, Star Anise, cooked with Potatoes, Cashews and Onion…You have the option of Chicken, Prawn/Duck, Tofu or Beef)


Nua Phad Kra Prao with Sen Jun Luak (Beef with Chilli and Thai Basil with Rice Noodles in Soy Sauce, Beansprouts and Fried Garlic)

We all had a try of each others and it was delightful. Everything tasted aromatic and even the spicy dish that Mark had was full of flavour and not all about the spice which I often find with Thai food. We really enjoyed it.

Mains finished, Lauren came over with the dessert Menu and an Ice Lolly for Caitlin. As Mark isn’t a dessert fan Caitlin and I ordered one for her and I.

As we were sat talking I noticed that a lot of the floor team were assembling at the bar with various instruments and a candle was placed in one of our desserts. The next thing we knew the team were drumming, shaking their tambourines and singing Happy Birthday around our table for Caitlin.

What a lovely touch and we are touched that they went to the effort. As if the food and service wasn’t enough, our meal was finished off perfectly with the gesture. We can’t thank the team at Thaikhun MetroCentre enough.

Our desserts were…

Banana Fritters with Vanilla Pod Ice Cream

Gluten Free Chocolate Tart (Layers of Chocolate Cream on an Almond Base)

We started out having half of each but Caitlin was loving the Chocolate Tart so I gave that up for the Banana Fritters, that were also scrummy.

We really did have a lovely experience and we will be visiting again. I would urge anyone to pay Thaikhun at Intu MetroCentre a visit. The Menu has so many tempting choices and we would try something completely different next time. I would love to take the rest of the family and see what they make of the meals.

Massive compliments to the Manager, Lauren and the rest of the team. Every ounce of our expectations were fulfilled and surpassed. You gave us an amazing start to a 10 year old’s birthday, giving her memories to hold on to forever.

Thank you for having us….

See you soon


Sunderland “Safari Supper”

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Food and I have a very loving relationship. Well, it may be a little one sided, but all the same there is nothing a good meal can not fix.

This week I had the pleasure of attending a “Safari Supper” in Sunderland. A showcase of what Sunderland has to offer in their upcoming Restaurant Week. The first to take place in the city.

The City of Sunderland are putting their bid forward to become the UK City of Culture 2021.

Having done some reading over the last few days, gaining the title could mean huge investment not only within Sunderland but across the North East. The team behind the bid hope to put Sunderland on the map and show the country that Sunderland is indeed a place to be. Having had a successful bid for 2017, Hull estimate that it has brought at least £60million of investment and the hope is that it would bring a similar figure to Sunderland, opening the doors to so many new ventures, experiences and employment opportunities.

I will be doing a post over the next week that goes more in to depth about the bid but in the meantime if you would like to find out more information you can visit the following links:

Web: www.sunderland2010.com

Twitter: @Sunderland2021

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sunderland2021

Back to the food…..

Restaurant Week started in New York six years ago and since then has seen the event spread to cities all over the world. Restaurants and Café’s across the city are invited to take part in the event and for a set price they offer a “Meal Deal”. The restaurants that are taking part are to offer two and three course deals for the cost of £10 or £15. The cafes involved will offer a £5 deal during the day. Not only will it bring custom to the restaurants but people in to the city, highlighting not only the established chains but those little independent eateries that you may have never heard of.

The event, led by Sunderland BID (Business Improvement District), is going to be held over nine days starting on Saturday the 24th of September and concluding on Sunday the 2nd of October.

In the run up to the event I was invited along to a “Safari Supper”…….

What is a “Safari Supper”?

“A safari supper (UK) is a dinner party with successive courses prepared and eaten at the residences of different hosts. Usually this involves the consumption of one course at each location.” (Wikipedia’s definition)

The event was to start at Cafe Purple located on Park Lane. (I would love to say that we arrived on time and that I didn’t get lost on the way in too Sunderland, however, my sense of direction is rubbish, and as it would seem, so is Google’s landing me on the opposite side of the river, so I arrived slightly flustered and a tad late.)


I was really impressed with what Cafe Purple had to showcase and in here we were offered a selection of cocktails and nibbles (cheese and biscuits, nuts and a selection of anti pasti items). I love my cocktails and like a dabble at making them myself, for me the trick to a good cocktail is making the drink not taste of alcohol. I am told that this was the case as my drink did not taste of alcohol due to being the designated driver (But lovely all the same).

From there we moved to The Port of Call, located also on Park Lane, right next door to Cafe Purple. I was really impressed with how open it was inside. The ceilings were high and there was plenty of space with various marine memorabilia on the ceiling and walls. The bar also caters for Private Functions, having three floors they have the space to let the two upper floors out for such occasions.


We were offered a selection of the cocktails along with a selection of Mini Burgers, Canapés and Mussels. I am not the biggest fishy fan in the world I must admit but I did give the fishy canapés a try and they were very tasty.

The staff were very helpful and made some taste sensations with the cocktail shaker, both alcoholic and virginal.

The Food Menu is certainly tempting and the prices are very reasonable.


A little bit further away, about a five min walk, lies The Funky Indian. Located on Borough Road you enter through The ProseccoBar Lounge, where we headed for our Starter.

Upon arrival we were greeted with a glass of Prosecco, or Orange Juice for the drivers amongst us.

The ProseccoBar Lounge aims to bring a classier bar experience with modern décor and table service to enhance the experience. They have an extensive menu which includes a good selection of tipples.

Down the spiral staircase in The ProseccoBar Lounge you are taken to a whole different world. The Funky Indian is authentically decorated, with Indian inspired fabrics, decor and it has a very cosy feel.


The Funky Indian aims to not only offer you the Indian experience but to give you a chance to enjoy tastes from all over India. Indian street food a plenty.


Looking at the Menu I was all but drooling. Each dish on the Menu is priced individually, in the case you should wish to dine traditionally, having a starter and a main course. As this is an Indian tapas experience, I would encourage you to have four dishes for £16.95. I have to say a couple of bottles of wine and 8 dishes between two people would be more than plenty and make for a very enjoyable night.

We were served with Chilly Tikka Poppers, Bombay Pav (Slow cooked Vegetables served with Bread and Butter, Sikh Kebab, Speciality Fries (Fries coated in the blend of house spice) and Manchurian Bhai (Stir Fried Cauliflower and Artichoke in Garlic, Ginger, soy and chilli).


Manchurian Bhai

The flavours were outstanding. Getting away from your traditional Indian (which I may add I love) and trying something different and traditional was refreshing. I will certainly be returning in the near future as I want to try more on the Menu and it would make an amazing date night location.

Next up was our Main Course and another short walk to Angelo’s Ristorante. Angelo’s is located on West Sunniside.


In 2015, their Head Chef won the best Italian chef in England and the Ristorante was listed in the top ten Italian restaurants in England at the English Italian awards 2015.

We received a very warm welcome along with a selection of drinks to help ourselves too. The restaurant itself is lovely, maybe its me, but I always get a sense of comfort when walking in to a good Italian, and Angelo’s certainly delivered that feeling.

All of the Pasta, Sausage and Desserts served are made from scratch on site. Eager to have a taste of the Menu we were given a selection of dishes to help ourselves too. These included, Strozzapreti con Salsiccia e Friarelli (The dish Chef Nello won his award is Handmade pasta twists with home made sausage, Neapolitan Broccoli, with a cheese sauce). A really comforting, tasty dish, I could quite happily have sat with the whole bowl and eaten it myself.


Strozzapreti con Salsiccia e Friarelli

As well as this we were served Pizza Bufala e Parma (Pizza with Mozzarella, Basil and Parma Ham), Pizza Margherita and Straccetti di Manzo alla Pizzaiola (Fillet Steak served with a Pizzaiola Sauce). We also had a Pasta dish that consisted of large tubes of pasta, mushrooms and cheese sauce, drizzled with truffle oil and shaved truffles and a Italian cheese stuffed chicken breast served with a tomato sauce.

Simply “delizioso”. I would love to go back and, like The Funky Indian, try more of the Menu.

We were sent on our final walk with a warm goodbye from the lovely staff.


Round the corner from Angelo’s Ristorante is Sweet Tooth Delivery. Sweet Tooth Delivery is located on High Street West and for any sweet tooth, is a little piece of heaven.

I was really quite excited when I was told we would be visiting Sweet Tooth Delivery as on a previous visit to their Belmont shop in Durham I bought a slice of cake each for the tribe and didn’t get one for myself.

There are so many sweet things to order, from cake to ice cream, brownies to Milkshakes, their best seller being the Skittles Rainbow Layer Cake.


I ordered the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cake. Having looked at the Menu before going my mind was made up as I love peanut butter.


Reeses Peanut Butter Cake

No meal is complete without something sweet in my mind, this was indeed the cake that finished the night perfectly. Served with a squirt of Cream and a peanut butter smear (salivating while typing) I would recommend to anyone.

I came home with a slice each of the Skittles Rainbow Layer Cake for the boys (which took them three attempts to finish as they wanted to savour the flavour apparently).

What a fantastic night and an amazing way to showcase what Sunderland has to offer. Sunderland has never been high on my list of places to go until the last couple of years. As a child and growing up we always went to Newcastle or Darlington and it wasnt until a couple of years ago I ventured in to the city. I have to say the shopping opportunities impressed me and now so has the Food Scene. With good transport links to all over the North East there is no need to drive, but if you should decide to do so there are plenty of car parks (just make sure you put the right post code in the Sat Nav)

We will be booking up and going to visit at least one of the Restaurants involved with Sunderland Restaurant Week and I can only encourage you to the same.  To find out what Restaurants are involved and gain details on how to book, please visit:

Web: www.experienceithere.co.uk

Twitter: @SunderlandBID

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sunderlandexperience/

Thank you so much for having me Sunderland, I will be back…………


Rain!!! ….Where to go now?

When you plan something outdoors with the kids and you get up to torrential rain…..yeah, that!

At the beginning of the School Holidays I promised that we would try and do at least one thing each week that meant the kids leaving the village.

We visited the beach, we had a baking day, we visited parks and so much more.

Plans were made for when Mark had shifts we could work around and on this very rainy Monday morning we were supposed to be going to Beamish Museum. (As you will know we did go, but we waited until the next day when the forecast and skies looked a little brighter).

The kids were hyper and staying at home would have just been unfair and the “I’m Bored” phrase would have been used to the extreme. To be fair, I was surprised at how little it was used these holidays, I was expecting it from day two but it took almost a week to start.

Taking to Google I started hunting for something to do that wouldn’t be too busy and something that would keep them all entertained.

The list started with Indoor Play Areas, for all there are some fantastic ones in the North East, they aren’t my favourite place on earth, especially on a rainy day.

Next was Outdoor activities, unless we were prepared to get soaked then that was a no go, so that left us with Museums. Something we have so many of, it is hard trying to pick one that would suit all of them and also one that Regan and Libby have not visited before.

Bags packed, kids dressed, phone charged (essential for photos) and amidst questions, we bundled the kids in the car and set off up to Newcastle.

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Regan is on of those children that like to know where, when, how, why, how long and what route are we taking. (I can’t say anything because I was the same, I now understand why my mum used to get so frustrated). They were all told Newcastle was our destination and that was that.

Pulling in to Times Square car park Regan knew where we were going, Centre for Life in Newcastle seemed the perfect place for a rainy day. Although Regan has been before on numerous occasions he had not seen the “Animals Inside Out” Exhibition so seemed a perfect idea as Libby and Penny have never been and they do cater for all ages.


First things first, we went and got some breakfast. In all the rushing about getting the kids in the car, Mark and I had forgotten to eat.


Libby and Penny were taken with everything there was to see. During the holidays admission for a child was free with every paying adult. So for the five us it cost £28 and Penny, being under 4, was free.

The kids chose the direction we went in and we arrived and the Ice Wall first, they were all having a touch, play and feel. It was indeed ice and it was absolutely freezing.

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Everything, with the exception of the exhibition, is so sensory, perfect for all ages as you aren’t wandering around all the time saying, “don’t touch”, “look with your eyes and not your hands” and “get off”.

We played with flying bags, spinning objects, blocks that looked like something from Tetris.


Next was the theatre for “The Crunch”. We sat at the back for the food based show. There were some fun experiments all based in and around the food we eat and the digestion process. Part of the show involved audience participation, so of course we volunteered Mark.


Mark, along with two children took on the protein challenge…..


Yes, he had to try a Meal Worm, not only did he have to do that but he had to bring them up for us to try. Regan refused, Libby refused, so that left me and Penny. We went for it and I have to say they weren’t all that bad, tasted very nutty. Penny had four, she enjoyed them that much. (I will not be eating them again if I can help it, tried once and taste never forgotten).

The show was really informative for the kids and they thoroughly enjoyed the pops and bangs along the way. On the way out we were all given free lanyards with codes to play a related online game.

Next was the brain zone.

Penny lost a bit of interest in this area as it wasn’t as playfully hands on but she was fascinated with the pretend fake floor.


Libby and Regan enjoyed playing with the games, touching the brain, looking at the actual human brain and looking at the tricks and brain games that were there to have ago at.


Mark was keen to move on to “Animals Inside Out“, the exhibition that is on until the 3rd of January.

The Centre for Life website says this about the exhibition:

“Thanks to the science of plastination, invented by Dr Gunther von Hagens, each animal has been painstakingly preserved allowing visitors to see what lies beneath nature’s skin in intricate detail.”

Watching things on the TV with this kind of graphic detail fascinates Mark and I. To think that somebody has had the patience to do this was intriguing and I must admit I was very unsure as to what we would see.


How would I describe it?

Amazing…..To be upfront and personal with such large animals was mind blowing for the kids. I didn’t realise how much would be preserved. Blood vessels, muscles, perfect bone structures, pieces of skin and eyes. It really was fascinating. The kids all got something out of it, different levels obviously but they all found something interesting.

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Dog catching a frisbee and an Ostrich…




Aerial view of the Giraffe…

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Shark and Sheep…..

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Two creatures lurking at the bottom of the sea and a horse head..

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Giraffe and Elephant…………..


Libby and a Cow …..


They also have a human body on display, obviously due to the sensitivity of identity and intimate body parts you are unable to photograph it. Libby found it very funny that the human was a man, very funny that he had a willy and even more funny that she was looking at him.

From the mouths of kids, “Mam, what’s those dangly bits?” ……..

It really is worth a visit I must say. I was concerned that it would be a bit gory but it really wasn’t. You are that interested in how much detail there is and how much time has gone in to preserving these huge and tiny animals that you forget what it is you are actually looking at. They aren’t dead animals but pieces of art.


Next we moved on the the Planetarium, they alternate between star shows and a story aimed at under 5’s. The older two weren’t keen and neither was Penny until it started but she loved it as did Libby. The story is “Little Bear Goes North” and it is screened on the ceiling of the Planetarium for them to watch and listen. It only lasts five minutes but well worth a visit in the middle (If you have a child that needs a sleep take them to this, it will sooth them and maybe even get them to sleep.)

We were told about the 4D ride on the way in and Libby was told she was just big enough to go on. The Ride is called Pacific Rim and involves lots of Motion and Water, or so I was told when Libby, Mark and Regan came out, soaking. I was supposed to go on with them but Penny wouldn’t let me out of her sight so Mark got the job. Libby had been quite scared and wasn’t keen on the motion so maybe not for little ones but Regan and Mark said the effects were very good.


Unfortunately the ride is currently out of order due to a technical difficulty but if you fancy a look up then check the website just here…..

While Dad, Regan and Libby were on the ride, Penny and I went to explore the other downstairs areas that we had not seen yet. We looked at and played with magnet blocks and marbles, strong electrical magnets, motion wheels, music wheels and lastly we found the sand with colour changing lights under.



Penny loves her sand at home, so it was no surprise she wanted to be and playing with that. We spent a good twenty minutes scooping, moving and making shapes in the sand. Turning the lights on and off and making them change colours.

By this time the rain had cleared up, Mark and the kids had rejoined us and we were all hungry. A wander up to McDonald’s was a unanimous decision, so off we went.


Mark and I love Newcastle for many different reasons but we decided with Libby’s new found love of football we decided to have wander up too St James’ Park.

Walking up to the ground never fails to move me and like a blubbering idiot that I am I was in tears by the time we got to the East Stand Corner. For all Regan has a cool exterior to him I have to say he was taken a back by the sheer size of it when you get up close. Libby could not quite get her head around the fact there was a football pitch in the middle of it.


We had a wander round the Club Shop and then up to the Main entrance. It has been a while since I was last up there and it was lovely to see the Bobby Robson statue. It certainly boosted my appetite to get to some games this season.


It was scorching at this point and we had three very grumpy children so we had a slow walk to the car, taking in the city walls,  with a history lesson from Mark and then we took a steady drive home.


All in all in was a very impromptu day and a lovely one at that. I do love days like that, but could only ever do them with someone in tow. I am not as impulsive when I know I have to do it on my own.