After looking through their website, The Palm in Sunderland had all of the characteristics of being the new place to be…
Break free of the city to our tropical oasis of good times with cafes, late night bars, restaurants, dessert parlours, tropical gardens & street food shacks, perfect for wild nights, family fun, parties, private functions, weddings, corporate events and of course, Christmas. From the people that brought you Florita’s, As You Like It & Le Petit Chateau… we invite you to step into The Palm. Claim your place in the sun.
So one wintry night in December, I went to establish whether this ‘tropical oasis’ could overshadow the bitterness of the night…
There is only one word to describe my initial thoughts of The Palm and that was awestruck. Making our way through the Street Food Garden (serving cocktails and tacos) then by the Terrace where a delightful member of staff flung colourful garlands around our necks, up into the Pineapple Cove Garden Café, through the party at Tropicuba and then finally to the main restaurant to the right is The Wildernest Bar and Lobster Cabin (you can go straight to the restaurant but I was intrigued by the whole setting and the atmosphere). So attractive on the eye, my mind was ready to party but my stomach was screaming first. On with the food and drink!
The drinks menu at The Wildernest is extraordinary and at 20 pages long, it certainly has enough to get your tongue waggling. With so much to choose from it has to be the best selection of drinks in Sunderland and deserves a review on its own. So feeling something fresh, I opted for a Hendricks Rose Garden; rose lemonade, rose petals, cucumber and fresh raspberries… You’re not getting more feminine than that but when in The Wildernest, go wild. It was fabulously refreshing and went down a treat. Chin chin!
The food menu is just as enticing. To start, you can group up for sharing or just go with the original starting line-up so we were awkward and chose one from each. From a choice of eight standard starters, we went for the Half Rack of Ribs at £8.95 and from the sharers starters we chose Homemade Flatbread Dipping Strips at £5.95. The ribs, covered in the stickiest BBQ glaze, were huge and just fell apart. The crunchy pink coleslaw alongside them was tasty although the ribs combined spectacularly with the ruby coloured peanut and beetroot hummus that came with the flatbread – I need this hummus in my everyday life. The warm, soft flat bread was also served with garlic sauce, sweet chilli cream cheese and olive oil with balsamic. Our starters went down swell.
The night was in full swing as acrobatics and dancers began performing through the bar area of Tropicuba, even the restaurant’s bar was bustling with customers just enjoying drinks – it is safe to say The Palm can hold down a lively atmosphere.
For mains, you have the option of meats, fish (including the lobster cabin) or veggie and vegan. I decided on the Northumbrian Pichana Rump Cap at £17.95. A Brazilian cut served carved with seasonal fries, slow roasted on vine cherry tomatoes. Presented beautifully on a wooden board, it certainly looked the part. Cooked rare, the rump was slightly chewy however I probably should’ve ordered it medium because of the type of meat it was. On another night, where I’d only get one course and I hadn’t ate all day, I’d plummet for The Wilderbeast at £54.95 which seems astonishingly tantalising to the stomach – you must check it out if you ever think you could handle it.
For dessert, it was a simple choice for me. I had been craving chocolate all day so it had to be Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream and Strawberries. The brownie was thick and squidgy, and the ice cream subtly caressed my palette – I’d have it again and again. I could have it now. I need to go back…
The Wildernest at The Palm is a unique, outstanding setting that has all the makings of greatness – I expect it to create a longstanding pull in bringing people to SunderIand. If you want something a little more chilled then try Liberty Brown upstairs. However, I enjoyed being in the midst of it all and would certainly return. In fact, I am going back in March for birthday celebrations.