SGM Reviews: Do you believe in Ghosts? or terrifyingly good food? The ISIS pub has it all

By Amy Nicholls of North East Eats

The Ship ISIS was built in 1855, and this eclectic pub is brimming with history, and fabulous food!

The Ship ISIS was named after one of the ships that frequently docked in Sunderland. The crew of the Isis often drank in the Inn and were also paid their wages from behind the bar, and this pub is also meant to be one of the most haunted in the North East; it is said to be haunted by the spirit of the infamous serial killer, Mary Ann Cotton, who allegedly buried the bodies of two of her own murdered children in the tunnels that lead down to the River Wear from the pub’s basement!

However, upon our arrival it was clear to see that this pub was no ghost town, and instead was packed full of a variety of different people from different ages and backgrounds, all clearly having a wonderful night in this bustling bar. The interior reflects the history of this fascinating building with lots of wood and old fashioned fireplaces, whilst also being homely with some modern touches such as fairy lights and foliage.

We visited the Isis on a Friday evening, and were lucky to get a table as it is walk in only; waiting for a table however wouldn’t have been a problem as the vast variety of ales and cider could keep you occupied whilst waiting for a table and your food. We were advised food was an hour wait, but food arrived within 35 minutes and would have been worth the hour wait regardless.

The pub hosts Wildfire pizza, a wood-fire pizza van out the back of the pub, as well as Joe’s fried chicken, chips and dips; although this food sounds simple, they are definitely not just your run-of-the-mill fast food items. Wildfire pizza is renowned for its quality of all ingredients, and never use frozen dough meaning they can sell out on busy weekends so you have to get there quick!

For the pizzas, you can choose from normal tomato base to a more exotic white based pizzas, a one we decided to try for a change. First of all, it’s important to note just how incredible the base of the pizza is, and it is the best dough we’ve had on a wood-fired pizza to date. It has the just the right amount of pull and crunch, and the perfect smoky aftertaste, making the crusts dipped in their delicious garlic sauce, or hot honey dip, a must.

Our pizza was called “super bad” and had a béchamel sauce base, topped with fior di latte (high quality cheese), bolognese, grated parmesan and parsley to make lasagne on a pizza – yes please! There were so many pizzas we wanted to try as every single one sounded fresh, delicious and jam-packed full of flavour!

We also had to try the fried chicken and I would recommend ensuring you get both pizza and chicken if frequenting this fantastic pub. The Parmesan fries were good, but the chicken was fantastic, definitely rivalling that of a certain famous fried chicken fast food chain. The tenders came in two flavours: bbq topped with garlic sauce and herbs, and buffalo, topped with ranch, chives and spring onion (the latter being our favourite!)

The Ship ISIS really is a hidden gem in Sunderland, and I feel like I’m behind the times on only just hearing about and trying this place! Its interior and atmosphere is one of a “proper pub”, but its food is modern, meaning this place really does cater for the young, old and everyone in between.