We were staying at the Quality Hotel just up the road from this pub, and were heading into Sunderland to find somewhere nice to eat after the Hotel menu proved very unexciting.
As we passed Hubby said "Oooo Harvester, not been to one of those for ages", well I hadn't even heard of them so we decided to give it a go.
Situated on the Newcastle Road, it is a HUGE pub with a vast eating area. Loads of parking outside.
We wandered in and were shown to a nice clean table with a sofa one side and chairs the other. A drinks order was taken immediately. Refillable soft drinks, brilliant.
We had a lovely waiter, who was very friendly and kept checking everything was ok. He explained how the menu works - you pick a meal, then a sauce, then a side, and finally you get as many trips to the salad bar as you like.
Plenty of Veggie options, Veggie sausage, Pastas, stuffed mushrooms ..
I opted for a Spiced Sweet Potato Burger with seasoned fries, my sauce was a smokey BBQ, which was lovely.
Hubby had a Gammon, it looked a little small when it came judging by the size given on the menu, and was served with one egg when the menu said "eggs", but it turned out he had been ordered the smaller option which worked out really well as he had filled up rather largely on bread and sweetcorn from the salad bar !
Strangely though, a lot of the sauces on the menu, like the Tartare, the Creamy Peppercorn and Diane Sauce were not ticked with the "V" symbol, I wondered why, so I asked our Waiter, he didn't know either. He did offer to go and ask but I was going to have BBQ anyway, but perhaps it would have been worth finding out if it was an error or not.
The salad bar was amazing. Loads of fresh options, salad, vegetable, fruit, pastas, and lovely rustic style bread rolls, with loads of different salad dressings and sprinkles. But best of all they did a NO ONION coleslaw - I had loads of it :)
We did two trips to the salad bar, hence why we had no room for pudding, it was just so delicious.
We definately need a Harvester in Carlisle, this one in Sunderland is our closest, and at over an hour drive away it's just not somewhere you can nip to for a quick dinner. But we will definately look them up again when we are away from home.
The bill, not including a tip, was just under a fabulous £23 for two monsterous meals, two large wines and two soft drinks.
Check out the website for a list of their other establishments and opening times.