Blogs > Discount Dining
Fancy one of our Discount Dining vouchers? Get the low down from our presenters here!
7th May 2013
If you've been to Martino's in Seaburn or Seaham you'll know how lovely the food is, and it gets better with their new restaurant in Jarrow as this is where they are launching their brand new menu, so you can sample it before it comes to Seaham or Seaburn.
From outside it is very understated, but walk through the door and you feel like you are in Italy. Through the main door you arrive in a long corridor which is decorated to look like a traditional Italian street, you could be in Napoli, Rome, Florence. It's a really clever trick as it puts you in the right frame of mind and sets you up for the Italian experience.
We were met by the staff and Steve the manager who gave us a choice of where to sit, close to the bar where he offered to put on The Godfather movie which could be projected onto the big wall above the bar or through into the main restaurant...we went through to the restaurant so that we focused completley on the food (to be honest I'm not a fan of the Godfather movies...a little overated if you ask me)
Steve explained the menu and left us to make our choice, everything looked so good. There was all of the dishes that you would expect in an Italian with a wide selection of pastas and pizzas as well as the different meat dishes which the Italians do so well. Eventually we went for calamari and pate to start and then I had a steak (recomended by Steve) and Nick had pasta carbonara and a cheesy garlic bread. Nick's calamari was perfectly cooked in a light batter which apparently has a secret method which the chef won't even reveal to the manager!! Whatever it is it works. My pate was classic and very well done with a lovely coulis and toast.
In between courses Steve the manager came over to chat with us and talked about the restaurant, it was clear he is very passinate about food and his job. I did think he was giving us special treatment as we were there to review the food but I noticed that he went around and chatted to all of the diners. I thought this was a nice touch, that he took the time to do this.
Our mains arrived and I had a perfectly cooked sirloin steak. I had asked for medium and that's exactly what I got, too often restaurants get this wrong. It was accompanied by proper thick cut chips, which had been properly seasoned. They had a nice crunchy edge and soft and fluffy inside. Nick's pasta was a decent portion with nice chunks of ham in it and a creamy sauce and the garlic bread was huge.
Sadly we didn't have room for a dessert which is a shame as they looked amazing. If you have been to Martino's before you will not be disapointed, the food is great and the place has been decorated very stylishly. It's well worth the short trip up the A19 to sample it especially as they have a new menu.
Posted by Mark at 4:11pm
6th May 2013
Indigo rooms is situated in the city centre on High Street west and describes itself as a gastropub (which is spot on, it's more than just burgers and chips). They also pride themselves on sourcing local ingriedients which is a plus. Setting it apart from other pubs as well as the food they have live music which makes it a little diffrent too.
The great thing about Indigo rooms is that it is two places in one. Corner Flag's become well known as a gathering point for footy fans in the city. But what I didn't realise is that it dishes up good grub too.
We went along on Saturday night to see what they had to offer and were met with a huge selection of burgers and pub-style food. From classic beef burger to minted lamb, pork and sage, venison, chorizo and even kangaroo - there's plenty for you to get your teeth into.Prices start from £5.95 and increase the more adventurous the meat.
If burgers aren't your thing, you can also choose from sister bar Indigo Room's menu which boasts pastas, salads, grills, paninis and staple pub food such as chilli con carne (£4.99) and all day breakfast (£3.99). We chose mozzarella dippers to start which are a bargain for £2.99. Soon after ordering we were tucking into a huge portion of melt in the mouth gooey mozzarella.
For mains, I chose from the vegetarian burger section - goats cheese and sun dried tomato (£6.95). It was served with salad and giant chips. Forget flimsy fast food fries, these were made with big chunks of potato and went down a treat. My friend also enjoyed tucking into her chorizo burger (£7.35) which came smothered in cheese. Portion-size was huge so make sure you leave plenty of room.
Having different places under one roof makes it perfect for whatever you are up to, whether meeting up with friends, a cosy first date or even a business lunch they can cater for everything, and with a half price voucher it makes it even more appealing.
Posted by Mark at 9:17am
2nd May 2013
The Holiday Inn is situated just off the A1 on Emmerson road behind Crowther industrial estate and was very easy to find. We walked through the main door and into reception which was light and airy, and spotted the restaurant straight ahead of us. Although the Traders is situated inside the Holiday Inn it is open to the public and not just to those staying at the hotel. Talking to Richard the restaurant manager he told us that a large chunk of his business came from non residents and especially on a Sunday for their Carvery which is very popular, and he has regulars which have benn coming for years.
The restaurant has a very simple modern design which really works. There is no clutter and the tables are nicely spaced so you don't feel squashed in. There are also lovely views across green fields which with the light nights really added to the calming feel of the room.
We were seated by the window and presented with the menu which had a lot of choice. I decided to start with grilled goats cheese on thick toast with side salad, Stephen had the soup of the day, leek and potato. The starters arrived very promptly and were delicious. Often in restaurants when you order goats cheese it's a tiny round piece but this was a decent portion and perfectly cooked so that it still held its shape but was nicely warm.
Our main courses were cod loin wrapped in smoked salmon on a bed of spinach served with new potatoes and a creamy fish sauce. Stephen went for Chicken breast with bacon and chedder cheese served with side salad and potato wedges. Both were a big portion, which was pleasing to see. The Cod was really nice and wrapped in the smoked salmon really complemented the flavours. The new potatoes were roasted which gave them a lovely crunch to their edge and was something a little different from just boiling them!!
Both of us really wanted a dessert but were full and couldn't fit one in. This was a shame as the puds did look good. We couldn't even fit in their mini puds with coffee which I thought was a really nice idea.
I had never eaten at the Traders before and was pleasantly surprised at how much it didn't feel like a hotel restaurant. They have a great menu which would cater for families or just a couple and is certainly somewhere I would go back to.
Posted by Mark at 4:07pm
30th April 2013
Anyone for pepperoni tail - we found ourselves saying as we shared our leftovers from The Ropery with the office. The dinosaur-shaped cheese and tomato pizza, complete with meaty tail, was the cherry on top of our meal which was such good value for money we struggled to clear our plates.
For the past couple of months I’ve been moonlighting at Sun FM in the wee hours of the morning before I head off to Echo Towers for my day shift. The station’s hosting a discount dining offer - in which you buy a voucher worth £40 for £20 - at restaurants across the area and I was invited along by Breakfast Show host Simon Grundy to find out what bargain hunters can get for their money.
I’ve eaten at The Ropery many times during its restaurant’s various incarnations - but this has to be one of the best. Nowadays they’re specialising in stone-baked pizzas. The price remains the same - £5.95 each - but the choice of toppings is vast from the novelty dino-shaped pizza for kids, which is cheaper than the norm at £3.95, to the chicken bang bang which features an unusual combination of chicken, peanut butter and tobasco.
The starters, meanwhile, feature basic favourites such as garlic breads, nachos and potato skins.
Simon tucked into a tomato garlic bread for £3.45 to start while I worked my way through a huge bowl of mixed olives for just £1.95.
If I hadn’t been with Simon it would have felt quite romantic with the cosy booths, rustic decor, roaring open fire and views overlooking the River Wear. Indeed, it’s easy to forget what a great location The Ropery has, not only for food, but for the many live bands who belt out tunes on its stage.
As we moved onto the main course, I wasn’t feeling brave enough for the bang bang so opted for the seafood option. Soon after ordering I was presented with a perfect base - crispy yet light - laden with mussels, squid and prawns. Eyes bigger than my belly, I ordered a green salad as an accompaniment but portion size was so big I couldn’t manage both. Simon was impressed with his choice too. In between regaling me with football talk, he found the time to order from the non-pizza section of the menu which features a range of pasta and rice options. The vast majority come in at the £5.95 mark and are Italian-inspired. For meat-lovers, there’s also a carvery choice and Sunday dinners which run from noon until 9pm for £6.95. Portion-size was spot on with Simon’s carbonara and it wasn’t so rich that it drowned out any flavour - a pet hate.
Neither of us could shoe-horn in a dessert but there’s a range of calorific treats for sweet tooths including hot chocolate fudge cake and house waffles, all priced £3.95. Staff were more than happy to box up our leftovers and untouched dino pizza. With drinks, our bill came to £36. If only we’d had enough room in our bellies to squeeze the remaining £4 out of our voucher.
Posted by Simon at 4:14pm
26th April 2013
We picked a good day to try the food at The Floaters Mill in Woodstone Village, Houghton-le-Spring as it was Saint George’s Day; perfect for the kind of food they serve which is mainly good honest British fayre.
We were met by Jo, who we discovered is the partner of the Manager, who’s the son of the owner. Are you following? It was great to see a good old fashioned family run business. They had decorated their establishment to reflect that is was Saint George’s Day too with flags and bunting everywhere, and even had a few ‘Specials’ on their menu for that day showing how versatile the chefs are, but also showing their attention to detail and the fact that they wanted to reflect this special day for locals and regulars, as well as newbies, like us. We were very impressed.
In the restaurant, that spills out into a modern conservatory on the back, where ‘Specials’ boards and posters telling us forthcoming events, such as their Family Fun Day on 6th May for the Bank Holiday Monday. They’ve got a huge outdoor playground for the kids, massive decked area too with an outside kitchen and BBQ for the good summer weather. You get the impression that the Floaters Mill is the centre of the community, as many pubs used to be, and great to see that this tradition is alive and well here. More blackboards were promoting their Steak Night every Thursday which costs just £19.95 for 2 including a bottle of wine to share, Afternoon Tea is also served Monday - Saturday from 1-6pm and they have a very popular Carver every Sunday for just £6.95 with a choice of 5 meats and a £2 discount for the kids. Our eyes were drawn to the daily ‘Specials’ board which were all £5.95 for a main course, although just £10 if you ordered 2.
We took our seats in the conservatory part of the restaurant with great views across the decking and down to the stream at the bottom of the garden. We noticed that the flowers on the table were real, plus a candle had already been lit. There was also a little notice advertising free Wi-Fi if, like us, you like to conserve your 3G data on your phone:-/
The Manager, Adam, explained that they also have feature menus that complement their usual British menus for a month at a time. They’ve had Italian, Spanish and this month is Mexican. This, we thought, was a great idea especially to give the local regulars a different choice every month. Armed with this new information, I ordered the ‘Mexican Sizzler’ and my guest ordered Fish ‘n’ Chips. He also recommended that we had a special, for one day only, ‘Ploughman’s Starter’ which included gammon and chicken pie and pork and black pudding pie, both homemade and both delicious. When the main courses arrived, the cod was huge and the Mexican Sizzler certainly was sizzling as it approached the table; a mixture of chicken strips and peppers in a spicy sauce. Both were wonderful.
When our food had settled, we, again, went for a recommendation from Adam, a desert platter so we could try a few different things. The apple pie and sticky toffee pudding covered in custard was to die for followed by their signature ‘Four Cheese’ cheeseboard.
We really enjoyed our evening with Adam and Jo, and you will too if you take advantage of this great Discount Dining offer. Our bill came to £35.65 for a large glass of wine each and 4 courses. Unbelievable value, but remember, the voucher entitles you to receive £40 worth of food and drink, which only costs £20; that’s £10 each for everything we had. Don’t miss out!
Posted by Simon at 5:13pm