Karbon Grill – Sunderland

Karbon Grill Sunderland Review

Walking in to Karbon Grill, you could easily be in an upscale Manhattan restaurant rather than slap bang opposite the Sunderland football ground! With industrial touches and an pinterest-worthy overload of rose gold and copper, the whole vibe is a million miles away from it’s actual location. With a nod to it’s actual northern industrial home, the name Karbon is to reflect the heavy industry in Sunderland.

Housed in the all new Hilton Garden Inn, Karbon Grill feels isolated and independent rather than attached to a hotel. We didn’t once see a harassed businessman schlepping his case round while we visited and the only inkling of hotel life is the equipment for the breakfasts while loiters in the background of the dining room. Parking is available in the huge SAFC car park across the road but sadly it is out of bounds during matches and events. If you’re local or plan ahead then don’t let that put you off!

Karbon Grill Sunderland Review

We visited right after the restaurant launched and after interviewing Chef Luca Tomassetti for Taste Magazine, I was excited to experience what was on offer. The Josper Grill is a highlight of the open kitchen so we put the steaks and the Josper to the test! In basic terms, a Josper grill combines both an oven and a grill in 1 to give the charred barbecue flavour but perfectly cooking the meat through reliably. The biggest appeal is the flavour the Josper can impart through indoor charcoal grilling.

Karbon Grill Sunderland Review

To start, we kept it quite light before our inevitable red meat feast with both of us settling on a salad.  The Mozzarella, heritage tomato and rocolla cress salad (£5.50) was light and fresh. The creamy mozzarella was complimented by the bursts of sweet tomatoes and the acidic cut of the balsamic. A super summery and tasty starter, I could have easily eaten a larger serving as a main course.

Karbon Grill Sunderland Review

The blue cheese salad (£5.50) was a generous and creamy affair. Chilled crisp lettuce was tossed in dressing and mixed with a generous helping of Dolcelatte cheese. The cheese wasn’t overpowering in the dish but did add a mature punch. It’s the kind of salad that would please a blue cheese fan and a novice all in one swoop.

Karbon Grill Sunderland Review

With a nice lull between courses, we were ready to devour our steaks!

I’m a steak lightweight and opted for a New York Strip steak (£23) while the husband went bold with the 28 day aged Porterhouse (£28) which is a cut he enjoys but struggles to find a good one here in the UK.

Karbon Grill Sunderland Review

Karbon Grill Sunderland Review

With book steaks cooked to our preference, the meat was perfectly charred on the outside and I can honestly say it’s the most flavoursome steak I have had to date. The meat retained it’s juices while having a delicious smoky crisp exterior.

The steaks are served with perennial classics –  chunky crispy chips, balsamic onions, grilled tomato and mushroom. The choice of sauces are as you’d expect. The chips are a crispy delight dipped in the aioli but I find the balsamic onions just a little too tart to compliment my meal.

Karbon Grill Sunderland Review

Apart from the US, where they know how to look after their cuts of meat, this is the best I have had. The flavour was absolutely spot on and steaks I have had since just haven’t quite lived up to the Josper grill’s handiwork here at Karbon Grill. The Husband’s porterhouse comes a close second to his all time favourite from Hillstone in New York which sets a high standard.

We thought we were stuffed but when the waitress recommended the Key Lime Pie (£5) we found a space to split the dessert. It was a winner. The creamy pie filling was a good partner to the sharpness of the lime in the pie and the lime sorbet. A surprisingly tangy and light pie, it was the perfect portion to split between us to finish a cracking meal.

Karbon Grill Sunderland Review

Proving to be exceptionally popular on match days, I’d personally make Karbon Grill a destination on your to-do list on those days there’s not a match on. Park up, sit back and soak up the relaxed stylish atmosphere with good food, a good drink and (hopefully) good company.

 

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