Seaside seafood hotspot set to open

A BEACHFRONT restaurant tucked away on Seaburn’s golden sands officially opens its doors next month.

North, the latest venture from restaurateurs Ben Wall and Neil Bassett, will be nestled in the historic Bay Shelter on Seaburn’s Lower Promenade, just yards from the shoreline.

The seafood restaurant will initially “soft” launch this weekend (16 Dec), before its official public opening on 4 January, when it will unveil its full menu.

Serving up an array of seafood dishes, natural wines and craft beers, the restaurant will be the city’s only dedicated seafood restaurant and will create 10 jobs following its £250,000 restoration.

Ben said: “We are delighted to finally be opening and we can’t wait to welcome the public through our doors.

“Both Neil and I live and work in Sunderland, so we knew as soon as we saw the shelter hit the market that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“I mean, how many restaurants are there in the North East where you can step out of the door and immediately be leaving footprints in the sand?”

North will be the latest hospitality venture launched by Ben and Neil, following on from their success with award-winning venues Mexico 70 and The Ship Isis.

The menu will include dishes such as bouillabaisse with red bream, monkfish and mussels; fresh oysters; octopus with confit potato and piquillo pepper and scallops with chorizo and black pudding.

“Both the venue and the menu have been developed to nod to the city’s rich coastal heritage and we’re delighted with how it’s panned out and the feedback we’ve received from the public so far,” he added.

“Our vision is to create an all-day seafront restaurant, showcasing contemporary dining in a stunning but unstuffy and unpretentious environment, serving brunch in the afternoon and meals into the night.

“A number of new venues have opened up across Roker and Seaburn in recent years, helping establish the seaside as a destination in its own right, and we hope the opening of North will add to that and see an entirely new proposition introduced to its ever-growing offering.”

The regeneration of the Bay Shelter has been supported by the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund (CCF) which, alongside funding from Sunderland City Council, is helping breathe new life into a series of heritage buildings at Roker and Seaburn.

Lease income generated from the buildings will also be used to support the Sunderland Seafront Trust, which operates the Roker Pier and Lighthouse tours and help it to broaden its activities.

Sunderland-based commercial property expert, Lofthouse & Partners, helped secure the letting on behalf of Sunderland City Council.

Cllr Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “The work being done to sympathetically restore some of our most historic buildings has already helped bring scores of new businesses to the city and we’re delighted to see North following suit.

“Ben and Neil are both local entrepreneurs, who have a fantastic track record of setting up and growing successful hospitality and leisure businesses and I’m sure this will be yet another fantastic success story for the city.”

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