Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Exploring Sunderland's foodie scene - Sunderland Restaurant Week 2016

Trying new restaurants and new types of food is my favourite hobby. If I could eat, eat and eat and not get fat, I definitely would. I love cooking at home, but you can only do so much until you fancy someone else cooking up something fabulous for you.

I was recently invited to a 'Safari Supper' which involved a food-laden tour around some of Sunderland's brilliant eateries. In preparation for Sunderland Restaurant Week, Sunderland BID invited local bloggers down for a evening of delicious food.

Sunderland Restaurant Review - Restaurant Week - Cafe Purple

For the 'Safari Supper' we had the chance to eat at five different restaurants/bars sampling what they had to offer during Restaurant Week. I've never been to Sunderland so having the chance to visit and see what amazing food places they had was brilliant. We started off in Cafe Purple which was a stunning bar filled with luxurious seating and extravagant lighting. In here I met up with all the other local bloggers, finding pals Tasha and Sarah amongst the bunch, and we enjoyed lots of different cocktails with an enormous cheese board! The variety of cocktails that were brought out was staggering, they pulled out all the stops for us. I of course loved the Cosmopolitan but I was definitely also a fan of their gin-based cocktail too.

Sunderland Restaurant Review - Restaurant Week - Cafe Purple

Sunderland Restaurant Review - Restaurant Week - Cafe Purple

Sunderland Restaurant Review - Restaurant Week - Cafe Purple

Sunderland Restaurant Review - Restaurant Week - Port of Call

From Cafe Purple, we headed next door to Port of Call. This bar was right up my street as it was decorated all nautical with lots of ship memorabilia adorning the walls. Here we were plied with more cocktails and other nibbles including mini cheeseburgers which were the cutest and tasted really good. We didn't spend long here before we were carted off to the Funky Indian for our first course.

Situated underneath a Prosecco Bar, the Funky Indian serves up Indian street food in tapas style. Our guide at the restaurant spoke about how at the Funky Indian they wanted to do things a little different and take inspiration right from India with a twist of cultures that have over the years found their way into the food. We were given some delicious food consisting of masala fries, spiced chicken poppers, bombay pav, deep-fried cauliflower and seekh kebab. It was all utterly gorgeous and I'm dying to go back!

Sunderland Restaurant Review - Restaurant Week - The Funky Indian

Sunderland Restaurant Review - Restaurant Week - The Funky Indian

When we'd pulled ourselves away from our Indian food, we walked along to Angelos Ristorante where we were served some great pasta, pizza and meat dishes fresh from England's top Italian chef, Nello who works as their head chef. There was a mushroom pasta dish that we tried which was absolutely beautiful, I'd definitely have it if I visited again.

Sunderland Restaurant Review - Restaurant Week - Angelos Ristorante Italian

Sunderland Restaurant Review - Restaurant Week - Sweet Tooth Delivery

Sunderland Restaurant Review - Restaurant Week - Sweet Tooth Delivery

After all our savoury food, it was time for the sweet! We walked again to Sweet Tooth Delivery, which we actually also have in Middlesbrough. There was cake galore in their display case in all different colours and flavours. We all chose a piece of cake to try, I decided on Chocolate Mud Pie. As it was getting late, I opted for mine to go and had it at home. It was lovely, just what I needed with a cup of tea after the drive back from Sunderland.

Having the chance to try so many fabulous places in Sunderland has definitely wet my appetite for going back in the future. If I can spare the time, I'll be popping up in Restaurant Week when I can get more for my money!
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Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Back in time for some nibbles with friends

In an effort to prove that I'm very much an adult and enjoy being civillised, I ventured out again to try another antipasto platter. My first experience of this was at No.34 and I very much enjoyed it. This might have been helped by the abundance of cocktails I had, which were also very dreamy, but overall I had a really nice time. 

We ventured out again, but this time trying out what Alchemy & Co have to offer in Middlesbrough. We visited in July (I know sorry this is late) when it was their 'birthday month' this meant, as well as getting one cocktail with out platter each, we got an extra one! Bonus!

Alchemy and Co - Middlesbrough, Bar Review -  Teesside - Cocktails Antipasto

Alchemy and Co - Middlesbrough, Bar Review -  Teesside - Cocktails Antipasto

Alchemy and Co - Middlesbrough, Bar Review -  Teesside - Cocktails Antipasto

Alchemy and Co - Middlesbrough, Bar Review -  Teesside - Cocktails Antipasto

Alchemy & Co is most known as a bar, more specifically a prohibition bar bringing you back to the 1920s. They even have a lock of the door which you can only access if you have the code! Very secret. We heard about their platters on Facebook and as we got an extra cocktail with the deal, we couldn't very well turn it down.

One Friday night we booked ourselves in and popped down to Middlesbrough's Southfield Road to try out luck. As I've only ever had one, very lovely, antipasto platter, this one had expectations to live up to. When it was brought out it was full to the brim with meats and cheeses with lots of peppery accompaniments. Compared to the last one it was really missing some good dips. We did have some lovely tasting meats, fresh salad, a good wedge of cheese, bread and grapes.

The cocktails really live up to the 1920's vibe with only proper ones on the menu. Forget the Woo-woo and your Sex on the Beach, Alchemy & Co sell old fashion cocktails that you'd expect to get in the era. I can't recall what the first drink I picked but it was prosecco-based and tasted yummy. The second one I chose was a good old-fashioned Cosmopolitan.

I'm a big fan of Alchemy & Co as I love small, quiet, exclusive bars where you can't fit too many people. I'm too old for the night scene in Middlesbrough now, so Alchemy & Co is a breath of fresh air. It is very chilled and relaxing whilst selling some great cocktails and liquors.
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Sunday, 11 September 2016

First GBK experience

In my quest to eat burgers at as many different places as I can, one that had slipped under my radar was the Gourmet Burger Kitchen. I always see vloggers, Zoe and Alfie ordering in and obsessing over their skinny fries. 

Last Friday me, Mum and baby Noah went for a trip to IKEA and needed some food. As we were travelling to the Metro Centre, I wanted to visit somewhere we don't have in Middlesbrough. With Italian and Asian off our list for the night, we decided to try out GBK.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Metro Centre, Newcastle, Food Review

Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Metro Centre, Newcastle, Food Review

Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Metro Centre, Newcastle, Food Review

Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Metro Centre, Newcastle, Food Review

Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Metro Centre, Newcastle, Food Review

Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Metro Centre, Newcastle, Food Review

Like many other burger joints, GBK has a great selection of burgers with unique combinations of fillings as well as lots of sides and extras. As there were so many delicious choices, I found it very hard to decide. The waitress brought over a special deal menu which meant we could get a burger, fries and a drink for £9.95 after 5pm. These were standard burgers including plain, cheese and also chicken. However after looking at the full menu we had seen some extras that we definitely had to have. On Mum's chicken burger she had Camembert and I had truffle cheese on my fries.

I went for my usual cheeseburger and it was really lovely. It was well done on the outside but still juicy in the middle, quite similar in taste to Burger King but much better quality meat. The fries were to die for, I wish I could live in them! They were so different from what I've had before and so good with the truffle cheese.

With the deal there was only a selection of three drinks and from these we both chose a strawberry and elderflower soda. It was very fruity and refreshing.

I  really enjoyed my first experience to GBK even though I still didn't try their skinny fries that Zoella is always banging on about. I will definitely be back again when I'm in the vicinity of a GBK.

If you've visited, what's your favourite burger from their menu?
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