Arabesque Egyptian Restaurant – Sunderland

Arabesque Sunderland Egyptian Restaurant

We piled in to the car last Saturday to try out Arabesque Sunderland as I had been dying to try it since it opened. Located at 144, High Street West, the restaurant is very conveniently located to the Sunniside multi storey car park (90p p/h) as well as the bowling alley and cinema.

On entering, in the bar area you are surrounded by Egyptian décor and furniture sourced from the country itself. Seats piled high with sumptuous plump cushions, hookah pipes and hammered metal work is the order of the day.

Seated in the bar on arrival at Arabesque Sunderland we were given the lunch time menu to peruse while a table was laid for us in the main restaurant which itself was full of statuettes and details to remind you that you are in an Egyptian restaurant. The downstairs room seats around 24-26 and there is additional seating upstairs. As we were leaving at around 2, there was several tables worth of people waiting in the bar to be seated so it is certainly popular.

The lunch time menu is somewhat limited compared to the evening full service selection but what was on offer was more than enough to get a feel for the restaurant and it’s authentic food. The beer selection was quite limited with only fosters (and cider) on draft. The cocktails are plentiful however!

For starters we ordered Falafel and the Batata Harra. Our mains actually came out before the starters but it wasn’t to worry, we just ate them in reverse order! Go with the flow!

The Falafel, served with a tahini dip (£3.00) was quite dry and bland, lacking the spiced herby punch I was expecting after my previous encounters with Arabic food on trips to Morocco and visits to Lebanese restaurants. The outside was very crisp which offered much needed texture to the inside. The tahini did improve the flavour of the patties themselves.
Arabesque Sunderland Egyptian Restaurant

The Batata Harra (£3.00), was described as cubes of potato, served with garlic, chillies, coriander and lemon. The dish came with 4 large chunks of potato in a tomato sauce jam packed with thick slices of garlic and chilli. The flavour of garlic was over powering but very tasty.

Arabesque Sunderland Egyptian Restaurant

Fresh flatbreads were served with the starters and this was perfect for mopping all that delicious tomatoey juice.

Mr Tramp ordered the Koshari (£5.95 + £2.00 for mince) for main. Minced beef, brown lentils, chickpeas, rice, pasta and fried onions served with chilli and garlic sauces. If you eat with your eyes you will not be impressed with this but it was an incredibly flavourful, delicious meal. It was perfectly spiced and the fried onions added a crisp sweetness to counter balance the spices. No one spice stood out and overpowered the rest. I wish I had ordered this!

Arabesque Sunderland Egyptian Restaurant

I ordered a Chicken Shwarma wrap (£6.95) which was so delicious. Served with chilli and garlic dips and thick cut crispy fries, the wrap was jam packed with chicken and salad and most definitely required 2 hands to hold! The wrap itself was again a fresh flatbread which was a welcome change to the flour tortilla I was expecting. The chicken was well spiced and as I keep saying, it was perfectly spiced. No one overpowering flavour just an exceptionally well prepared spice mix.

Arabesque Sunderland Egyptian Restaurant

I would love to return on a night time as I absolutely love Houmous, Tabbouleh and Fattoush so I can’t wait to try them! Mr Tramp is looking forward to trying some of the tagine dishes on offer! I was disappointed by the lunch time menu choice but I can appreciate why restaurants offer a cut down version during a light service period.

For 2 courses for 2 people, 1 bottle of water and 1 bottle of beer, the bill came to £25.

If you are keen to try Arabesque Sunderland I highly recommend it but I do think you would be best trying it on an evening when you are spoiled for choice with the full menu.

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