D’Acqua – The Best Restaurant in Sunderland?
Yes, I’m back in Sunderland again. Many of my friends rave about D’Acqua on Facebook. I had visited but wasn’t overly impressed first time round. The food wasn’t awful, I just wasn’t sure what they were trying to accomplish with it. The menu has experimental elements like Ham & Pease Pudding ‘Our Way’ – the popular sandwich filling deep fried – alongside the expected pizza and pastas. It all seemed very confused to me and as if the chef was trying to please everyone all at once. Some of my favourite places to eat have pared back menus, honed to perfection. You don’t need a War and Peace offering to be successful, just to be able to cook a few dishes well.
I thought another trip was due as when I’d originally visited it was pre-blogging. The menu hadn’t really changed, but though I should be open minded. That said, I wasn’t going to touch the Ham and Pease Pudding on account of me not liking the stuff! We went for a midweek lunch and opted for their special menu. We chose a starter and a pud to share, and a main course each. This was £12 per person. My niece had the Kids Chicken Goujons, Chips and Salad. Her meal, which included a soft drink and ice cream, was just £5. Great value for money if you’re dining out with children.
Our Arancini starter arrived on a slate, much to my amusement. There’s a Twitter account which features the outlandish ways restaurants now feel is necessary to serve food in order for it to look ‘pretty’. I blame blinking Masterchef! The lack of plate aside, these crumbed risotto balls had a good texture and I even ate the peas that were mixed with the rice. I couldn’t really detect any mustard in the mayo they were plonked on, but it was a minor grumble.
I was more excited by the delicious Slow Roasted Pork I ordered for my main course, which was served beautifully. The crackling was crispy and the pork was melt in the mouth. The seasonal vegetables were served in some sort of watery tomato sauce, which was unneccessary with the red wine gravy which accompanied the meat. They almost ruined a perfectly good dish. Jnr was incredibly boring and had a Margherita Pizza for his main. I tried to convince him to try the Salmon, which he loves, but he said he was in an Italian restaurant and wanted to eat Italian food. This pizza was huge for him to eat on his own, but he somehow managed it. I don’t think it theirs was anything special, not when we’ve tried Cal’s Own.
The dessert to share was Beignets, which are similar to Churros. They arrived with a bitter chocolate dipping sauce. These were very good, and not as greasy as I expected. It would have been nice to try the Tart aux Pommes, which is one of my all-time favourite puddings, but as I was sharing with Jnr I had to chose something that hadn’t been near anything as healthy like fruit!
The bill for 2 courses each, drinks and my niece’s lunch was £33. A decent feed when you have the kids in tow, but still not quite living up to my expectations. If we’re in Sunderland on a night out I will return as there is a distinct lack of options in the city centre. It probably is the best restaurant in Sunderland, but we still have a few more places left to try. They have a commendable commitment to using local produce and show artistic flair, but our meal was hit and miss. Sorry Jimmy! A real shame when the pork was so good.
Thanks for reading,
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