Twitter is a wonderful tool for finding out about new cafes and restaurants. Sometimes a new business overlooks the free publicity social media grants, but they still have an online presence thanks to their patrons who post about them. That’s certainly the case of No 2 Church Lane, Sunderland’s newest watering hole. Offering up a wide range of beers, gins and a menu with a selection of burgers, we were keen to give it a try for National Burger Day on the 25th August.
With no Twitter account – although their Facebook page has over 1k Likes – it was one of my lovely followers who alerted me to the existence of this new place to try. It took two attempts to sample the food, as on the first night we’d arrived just after the kitchen had closed at 7:30. Their Facebook page actually said service was until 9pm, but they’d decided to stop serving earlier in their opening weeks. Just a side note if you decide you also want to try them out too, I don’t want any grumpy vegetarians and vegans starving because of this!
There was a Sunderland home game on the night we visited, but the place seemed to empty just as we sat down to peruse the menu. I’m not a fan of venturing into Newcastle when it’s match day, so you can imagine my horror being greeted by hordes of red and white shirts as I parked!
My lovely Twitter follower was right; the menu did cater well for vegetarians and vegans. She said the owner was vegetarian, which would explain why 6 burgers were dedicated to those who don’t eat meat.
With 5 of those 6 suitable for vegans, Mr. Canny was in his element. He couldn’t decide which to chose and left the final decision up to me. I picked out the Seitan (a protein-rich wheat gluten, for those who don’t already know) burger as he’d never tried this meat substitute before. With the choice of topping it with BBQ jackfruit or lentils (which were apparently cooked to be like chilli), I thought the jackfruit would make for a nicer combination knowing how chewy Seitan can be.
It was served on a bun that is suitable for vegans, thankfully. I’ve lost count of the number of places who serve up their patties on a brioche roll. Church Lane plated up this beauty with coleslaw that wasn’t suitable for vegans or mentioned in the description, which they hopefully won’t do again after we raised it with them. When mistakes like this are made it can make you wary about what else they haven’t realised isn’t suitable, but we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt this time.
The patty was thick and meaty, as you can see above. The jackfruit had a great flavour and was lovely and moist. The menu also thoughtfully highlighted a vegan-friendly Witbeer to try alongside, which Mr. Canny did. At £7.95 for the burger and fries, we thought it was good value for money. The portion wasn’t massive, but the burger was quite filling.
My Bright Side of Rice (£6.95) burger was an 8oz risotto patty served with lots of onions. I asked for it to be topped with cheese as I worried it might be a bit dry with the bun too. The rice was mixed with sundried tomatoes before being pressed, which meant it didn’t dry out during cooking. It is also suitable for vegans topped with tomato salsa, which the menu helpfully explains.
Church Lane has not been open long and is finding its feet, which is why I was reticent to even mention the minor grumbles we had. I’m just worried some vegans may not have considered the coleslaw wasn’t suitable when the dish was clearly labelled as such. It was an issue with plating, and I hope the kitchen will be more careful in future.
This aside, we really enjoyed the food here and we’ll definitely return. It’s great to see more places opening in Mackemland accommodating vegetarians and vegans other than Wetherspoons, and I hope its success spurs others on to offer options too.
Thanks for reading,