Regardless if you eat meat or not you can’t have missed the number of restaurants and bars which now are gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan inclusive. Consequently, The Engine Room located at The Fire Station on High Street West in Sunderland is no exception.

With National Vegetarian Week taking place this week (13th-19th May) we headed to The Engine Rooms to check out solely their vegetarian and vegan menu.

Located in the former working Fire Station the building has subsequently been restored and has a fully stocked bar, with a great seating area out the front for the warmer, longer nights which are fast approaching. They also offer an extensive menu whereby only Gramm flour is used, making all freshly prepared items gluten-free (including their fish and chips!)

Just a short skip from the Empire Theatre it’s a great place to grab a bite and a pint (or perhaps a cocktail or two) before the show. Their vegetarian and vegan menu consists of;

Halloumi Fries (£6) (V & GF)

Quite possibly the best Halloumi fries I’ve ever had! They were perfectly cooked and seasoned! The mint and pomegranate dressing was a great addition. In short, for any cheese fan, these are a great starter or served as a side to a main.

Popcorn cauliflower (£7) (V, VE & GF)

Probably the least value for money item here as personally I felt that £7 was a little steep for a little bit of cauliflower, with that being said though teamed with the Madras mayo they were a really delicious starter, ironically as fried cauliflower was the thing that ended my 20-year stint as a vegetarian. They were really tasty, just perhaps not my first choice on the extensive vegetarian and vegan menu.

Pulled Jackfruit Nachos (£10) (V, VG)

Having read about Jack Fruit a couple of times I was apprehensive to trial it, especially as many reviews have likened it to dog food. I can comment and disagree with this as the Jack Fruit was very BBQ tasting and very similar to pulled pork. These are certainly for the vegans with jalapenos, vegan cheese and salsa. A great sharing dish or ideal as a main course.

Moving Mountains Burger (£11.50) (V, VG)

Undoubtedly my favourite on the menu (alongside the dirty chips) this 100% plant-based burger is made from pea and mushroom protein, and as a beef burger, is served pink in the middle. Served with vegan style cheddar and vegan mayo in a pretzel bun with a beef tomato, baby gem lettuce, sweet potato fries and vegan mayo. In short, this meal certainly means no missing out on burger and pint night!

Grilled Halloumi Burger (£10.50) (V)

Halloumi in my diet is certainly an absolute staple and this halloumi burger was a great and welcome addition to The Fire Engine’s menu. A paprika dusted halloumi burger, chargrilled with rocket and tomato. Served with seasoned fries in a pretzel bun with a side of hummus.

Veggie-Topped Dog (£11) (V, VG)

A dog sent from the Gods! Everything and more you’ve ever wanted in a hot dog! This succulent veggie hot dog is topped with vegan mozzarella. Drizzled with BBQ mustard, loaded with slow-cooked Jack Fruit and finished with crispy onions. It’s simply to die for and another great pick on this hugely expansive menu.

Meat Free Dirty Chips (£12) (V, VG)

The holy grail, and the perfect thing to sober you up after a day of drinking (or to line your stomach before an all-day session). These homemade dirty chips are topped with 100% meat-free indulgence and gooeyness. With Moving Mountains burger, vegan hot dog, vegan style cheddar and vegan mayo, they’re not to be missed! These alongside the Moving Mountains burger were my favourite on the menu.

Artichoke Flatbread (Reg £8 or XL £13) (V, VG)

A freshly cooked thin flatbread with artichoke, roast red peppers, mushrooms and mozzarella. Ideal for tearing and sharing they come in two sizes. Regular or an XL. Regular is certainly perfect to enjoy for one, the XL is perfect for two to share!

Spicy Veggie Sausage (Reg £8 or XL £13) (V)

The same but different to the artichoke flatbread, this flatbread is topped with spicy veggie sausage, jalapenos, tomato and mozzarella and really adds a kick. Probably my favourite out of the two flatbreads. It is an ideal sharing dish.

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Spinach & Ricotta Tortellini (£11) (V)

I’m not really a fan of pasta dishes as I often feel bored with them, however, this creamy roast red pepper and rosemary sauce really complimented the classic spinach and ricotta pasta. Most importantly, it is a fantastic portion size and a typical pre-theatre dish.

Sweet Potato and Aubergine Katsu Curry (£11) (V, VG)

Aubergine is up there with my top three hated vegetables alongside beetroot and celery. So naturally, I swerved that and enjoyed a little bit of the sweet potato and the Katsu curry. Panko fried, the sweet potato (and I’m assuming aubergine) were perfectly cooked and paired with the Katsu curry. Teamed with steamed rice and Asian salad if you’re looking for a vegan and vegetarian dish which breaks pub traditions, this is so it!

Grilled Halloumi Marinaded in Lemon Pesto (£12) (V, GF)

Finally, the grilled halloumi skewers. These marinated pieces of halloumi were served with roast vegetable pieces, pilau rice, house salad and red pepper hummus for dipping. Personally, vegetable kebabs aren’t really my first choice however, these were fresh and delicious. The marinade was most notably, pretty unique and flavoursome.

In addition to this, they offer a Full English Breakfast for £9 for both vegetarians and vegans (two separate breakfasts) making The Engine Room a great choice for food in Sunderland. We highly recommend the dishes even if you’re not vegan or vegetarian and we’ll certainly be back before we head to the theatre.

Disclaimer: This meal was provided complimentary, all views are our own. Read more about disclosure here.

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