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The Sandcastle Pub/Restaurant (Sunderland)
Member Name: jeffjen
The Sandcastle Pub/Restaurant (Sunderland)
Advantages: Good food, good prices
Disadvantages: Could do with more staff
The Sandcastle pub/restaurant in Sunderland, is a place I have visited for a meal a few times. It is a large building right on the coast leading from Grangetown to Ryhope, and a great place for families to visit due to having both an indoor 'fun house' for children and outdoor play area.
Inside the pub it is very spacious and divided into areas featuring wooden tables and chairs, leather sofa's and three large plasma TV's. Wooden beams and some stained glass windows also make for a cosy atmosphere.
The Sandcastle is open daily from 11am - 11pm (10.30pm on Sundays) and the Fun House play area is open from 11am - 6.30pm (7pm on Fri & Sat). Children are allowed in the pub until 9.30pm.
The Fun House also has special times for tots, and also caters for children's parties.
£2.50, with £1.50 charge for extra children will give them an hour in the Fun House with its ball pools, soft play and obstacles, while parents can enjoy a meal.
The outdoor play area has climbing frames etc with safe surfaces and also available is a beer garden and patio area.
One of the main attractions is the '2 meals for £10' offer which includes a lot of main meals from the menu, ranging from traditional favourites such as Fish and Chips, Pie of the day, Chicken Kiev and Burgers to Italian Chicken, Lasagne, Gammon and Steaks.
As well as this there are other reasonably priced meals available, a full kids menu, vegetarian options and lighter options, with a range of starters, side dishes and desserts. A carvery is available on Sundays.
I last visited The Sandcastle a week ago with my partner, where we chose two meals for £10. Menu's are available on the tables, and after making our choices, I went to the food order point to order.
I chose 'Pie of the day' after asking first what it was. I was given a choice of mince and onion or chicken and ham.
I chose chicken and ham which is served with chips and peas. My partner chose Gammon Steak with is served with chips, peas and either two fried eggs or pineapple.
I paid the £10 and then went to the bar to order drinks, as you have to order these separately.
A wide range of drinks are available including bottled beers and soft drinks, all reasonably priced.
On some of the occasions I have visited, it has been the same member of staff serving on the order point and also the bar, which has meant sometimes waiting a while at the bar to be served, whilst the staff are taking food orders. The times I have visited when there is more than one member of staff behind the bar obviously makes service much quicker.
On this occasion I had to wait around five minutes at the bar for a member of staff to be able to leave the food order point and come and serve me with drinks.
As soon as we sat back down at our table, a waitress appeared with our knives and forks. We have never waited long for meals to arrive and on this occasion we waited around ten minutes.
The portions were quite generous and we could not find any fault with our meals.The pie was homemade and delicious, and my partner's gammon and eggs perfectly cooked.
An added bonus is that they serve homemade chips and not the frozen variety!
The only thing I have tried here and not liked was a burger, which I thought tasted cheap and very bland. I will not be having that again. Everything else has been very nice.
One thing I always hate though which happens a number of times in different establishments, is when a staff member appears just as you have placed the first fork full of food into your mouth, and asks you if everything is okay with your meal, when you haven't had a chance to find out! I am afraid that this is something that has happened here also, although not on every visit.
The service here is usually good and efficient, even though they often seem short staffed.
A lot of the staff here seem to be students and I sometimes feel quite sorry for them as they are always rushing about.
When it is really busy, as it is a very popular place to eat, then sometimes there can be a delay in cleaning the tables, which I think again is down to maybe not enough staff. On a couple of occasions I have had to sit down at a table littered with dirty plates etc and wait for it to be cleaned, but the staff do clear it as soon as they can.
We pay around £14 for a meal each and a drink which is good value, and I never have room for dessert, though they do look very inviting and have a tempting range of fudge and cheesecakes.
It is also worth noting that special Christmas meals are bookable in the run up to Christmas with a three course Christmas meal costing only £10.95 for adults and £5.45 for children.
Reservations can also be made for Christmas Day, with four courses for £34.95 adults and £17.45 children.
A pub quiz is held weekly on a Wednesday evening which seems quite popular, though I have never participated as it is usually tea-time when I visit and have left before it begins.
Overall I can recommend The Sandcastle as a paradise for children and parents, butalso it is so big that there are quieter areas of the pub to eat and drink, as families tend to stay near the Fun House. Therefore it is possible to enjoy a quiet meal and drink here.
I am awarding The Sandcastle 4 out of 5 as I do think a couple more members of staff are needed, to ensure that tables are cleared quickly, and an efficient bar service can be provided at all times.
Tyne and Wear
Tel : 0191 5145586
Summary: A good family pub,