Blogs > May 2013
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
1st May 2013
So the weekend saw a great load of activity across Wearside with feel Good Sunderland, the Marathon of the North and the zip wire off the Wearmouth Bridge, the latter was the one I took part in!!
A few months ago the zip wire was mentioned and I agreed to do it. I had done zip wire's before, but nowhere near as high as this one and probably was a little cocky in agreeing to do it. It's one of those things that you agree to do and then as it get nearer you get more and more nervous. My time slot was 12 noon so I got there fifteen minutes beforehand to get all kitted out and then make my way up to the 'jump' point. Not only do you have to get over the fear of setting off from the Bridge you also look a little ridiculous in the kit, it's basically a big nappy. You step into the harness which then gets tightened around your waist and between your legs, even though this is a little odd you want it tighter than loose obviously! Also just to make sure you look the part there is a very fetching helmet to wear. Bearing in mind you then have to walk all the way from Pans Bank back up to the Wearmouth Bridge, with lots of people giving you a look as if to say..."rather you than me mate".
Once at the top I was met by the two guys who would have my life in their hands as they attached me to the wire. This was where it became very real and my legs did start to go to jelly a little bit. I had to climb a ladder onto a platform which was about half a metre wide and suddenly the reality of how high up I was hit. I let the guy tell me what I had to do as he attached me to the wire. I then carefully stepped down onto a lower platform and sat down on it ready to go. I did all of this carefully but as quick as I could so that I didn't look down. A couple of shuffles and I was off. This was amazing, the actual zip down was great. I had longer than I thought to take everything in and really enjoyed it as I twirled around all the way down the wire, until the break hit and jolted me to a stop.
There was a real sense of achievment at the end as I looked back to see what I had just done, and was really proud of myself. I genuinely would have gone back up to do it again but was needed across at the Stadium of Light to do my show from the Marathon of the North.
Thankyou to everyone who sponsored me, all of the money is going to The Rainbow Trust. This is our charity of the year so we are collecting in money all of the time and if you want to contribute that would be fantatstic. You can use our Just Giving Page.
Posted by Mark Black at 4:37pm
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