Katie MacFarlane checks out a dining room with a view on her old Wearside stomping ground

I ALWAYS enjoy venturing back over to my childhood playground of Sunderland.

I recently met up with my friend and fellow writer Sarah-Jayne for tea and we decided to give Poetic Licence, in Roker, a whirl.

Located on the sea front, you really couldn’t get a better setting for an Eating Out review.

From the outside, there are a few restaurants clubbed together onto the side of the Roker Hotel which did make it a little confusing as to which one I should go in, but when I entered the atmosphere was chilled and filled with people of all ages enjoying their drinks and evening meal.

I was originally shown to a table near the kitchen but seemed to hit the jackpot when the waitress asked if I wanted to sit on a table that had just become free near the window. This never happens to me so I was considering myself very lucky as I stared out the window at the lighthouse on the pier and enjoyed a refreshing elderflower cocktail (£2.95).

When Sarah-Jayne arrived it didn’t take us long to pour over the menu – especially as she joined me on the mocktail scene.

For starters I chose the Tiger prawns served on a crouton with garlic, parsley and lemon butter (£7.25) while Sarah-Jayne chose the chicken strips (£7.25).

When the starters arrived I was impressed with the presentation of both dishes. Mine came on a large white plate and had five plump prawns perched on a slice of baguette which was softened by the swirl of sauce it sat in.

The prawns themselves were centre stage and packed a punch in flavour with the sauce which had the right balance of sweet and tangyness and unsurprisingly I polished them off far too quickly.

Sarah-Jayne enjoyed her chicken strips too which was presented in a wooden bowl and was very colourful – you can tell she’s much better at going for the healthier option.

For main course I went for the 8oz sirloin steak (£16.95) – a standard dish to test with any chefs – and I ordered my meat medium rare.

Sarah-Jayne on the other hand – being healthier again – chose the blue cheese Waldorf salad (£8.95) which comprised of caramelised walnuts, fresh apples, grapes and celery on a bed of dressed leaves.

When the mains came the first thing that struck me with my dish was the huge pile of chips that seemed to dominate the plate.

Normally I wouldn’t complain about this but the chips themselves were quite dry and far too chunky for my liking while the steak was hidden on the corner of the plate under a large gravy dish with ym peppercorn sauce in.

The steak itself I’m afraid to say was overcooked for my liking and didn’t really have much flavour from other steaks I’ve tried in my time.

The accompanying tomato and mushrooms were also uneventful and didn’t really add much to the dish in way of flavour leaving more of a bland taste with me across the whole dish.

Sarah-Jayne on the other hand had more luck with her salad which was bursting with flavour and seemed to never go down the more she dug in.

Having booked a table at 8pm, it was just after 9pm when we had finished our mains and having already spied the dessert menu; I had kept my all-important dessert space free.

It was a surprise then when no one came to clear our plates for a good 20 minutes or seem to want to know if we wanted dessert.

And it was only when I asked to see the menu at 9.35pm that I was told the kitchen had just closed.

We were both rather shocked at this especially as I had been under the impression food was served until 10pm when I booked and couldn’t help wondering whether the chef just wanted an early finish.

To me this is bad form – especially as it happened on the dessert course – and I was disappointed to say the least, especially when we would have been able to order if our plates had been collected in a timely manner or we were at least informed the kitchen would be closing at a time when it was still possible to order.

So for probably the first time ever, I did not have dessert. That’s a sentence I never thought I would write but there you have it.

I may consider returning for said dessert in the future and to enjoy that view again but maybe next time I’ll order my favourite course first.

Food Quality: 6/10

Surroundings: 8/10

Value: 7/10

Service: 6/10

Poetic Licence

TYPE: Bar and restaurant

Where: The Roker Hotel, Roker Terrace, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, SR6 9ND

Contact: 0191-5671786

Open: Monday to Thursday 11am to11pm; Friday and Saturday 11am to 1am; Sunday noon until 10.30pm and food served Monday to Saturday noon until 9.30pm and Sunday noon until 9.00pm.

Food offer: A range of food from the grill to low carb and healthier options and everything in between and daily deals.

Cheap and cheerful: Jerk chicken (£6.95)

Top dollar: 8oz rib-eye steak (£17.95)

Scores on the doors (food hygiene rating): The restaurant is attached to The Roker Hotel which has a rating of 5 (Very Good)