It really does not seem like five years ago but when you look back at what has happened over those years you realise how fast time flies.
Mark truly is my rock. In the eight years we have been together he has supported me through so much,( I would like to think I have done the same for him). He has supported me through ups, downs and totally changed my approach to the world. Without his strength I would not be able to sit and write most of the stuff I do. We don’t get a lot of down time but we truly do savour every ounce of it.
We were both working on the day of our anniversary, so decided that we would leave any celebrations until the Monday night.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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: