05 March 2024

THE aim to bring one of the North East’s top pan-Asian restaurants to Sunderland is moving closer, with the submission of a planning application outlining the details of the scheme.

The Muddler – which currently operates a highly successful outlet in Newcastle city centre – is taking over a unit at Keel Square, on the ground floor of the Holiday Inn.

And now full details of the proposed restaurant and cocktail bar are going before Sunderland City Council’s planning committee, to allow the project to move to the next stage.

The application outlines the plans for both the interior of the building and an outside terrace, which will be landscaped to offer an outdoor dining and drinking space.

The restaurant will accommodate more than 150 diners, with a cocktail bar area for those just wanting to enjoy drinks, spread across the ground floor and first floor levels along with an outside seating area for 110 covers.

The proposal is to install parasols in the outside area as well as plants and greenery, “contributing to a warm and relaxing atmosphere.”

The interiors will replicate the opulent style that visitors to the Tyneside restaurant are familiar with, decorated in black and gold and offering a menu of Asian-inspired dishes and sushi.

An opening date for the restaurant and cocktail bar will be confirmed once planning permission has been secured and construction work has begun, adding to the already strong offering in and around Keel Square.

Neill Winch, chief executive at Danieli Group – which owns The Muddler brand – is delighted that the planned Sunderland scheme is progressing.

“We have very exciting plans for Sunderland and it’s an area and market we know very well because of our experience operating STACK Seaburn,” he said.

“The success of that venture has led to us looking at establishing other brands in the city and we hope that the application will get the necessary approvals so we can continue to move forward on bringing The Muddler to the city centre.”

Leader of Sunderland City Council, Cllr Graeme Miller added that The Muddler would be a welcome addition to the area.

“The phenomenal transformation we have seen in and around Riverside Sunderland is creating so many exciting new places for residents and visitors to enjoy, as well as job opportunities for local people too,” he said.

“ I am delighted to see these plans move forward.  They will beautifully complement the cluster of leisure venues we have attracted to Keel Square.”