A restaurant to Bank on

Birmingham has some great restaurants, as we all know.  Some are better than others, and often they come and go within merely a few years.  Consistency is a rare thing in the restaurant world.

One of the best known restaurants in Birmingham is Bank, and it is known for simply getting it right, on time, every time, all of the time.

My partner and I chose to dine on a Thursday night, as it wouldn’t be as busy.  How wrong we were.  They were going at it like the recession never happened.  We were greeted at the door by very friendly smiley staff, the likes of which you do not get at some establishments.  After a short drink in the very busy bar we moved swiftly to our table in the far corner, away from the crowds.

Our table was nice and sturdy, and overlooked the canals and the NIA.  When the nights get lighter it will be a lovely place to sit and gaze out.

Our waitress, Erica, was very switched on, attentive and knowledgeable throughout the evening.  She brought us nice crispy bread rolls and some very tasty olives and garlic to nibble on while we were choosing from the menu.

As the designated driver I was on the chateau coca-cola for the night but my partner had a glass of Pinot Grigio blush.  It was nice, and cold and crisp, apparently.

For starters we had gone for the Prawns in Tempura Batter with a chili and lime jam (me) and Grilled Asparagus topped with Poached Egg and Hollandaise sauce (her).  The prawns were cooked just enough to still be juicy, and cooked in Tempura batter, which was nice and light.  I loved the jam accompaniment and must have a go at making it myself one day.  Herself delighted in her Asparagus, which was cooked beautifully with the perfect poached egg on top.  And, believe me, she can be fussy about her poached eggs.

Between courses I popped to the bathrooms and had a general explore of the place on the way back.  Bank also has a private dining room for about thirty (at a guess).  It has a well stocked bar, and some of the best award-winning cocktail bartenders in Birmingham.  The whole place is in a good state of repair, but it could do with a lick of paint and a bit of upholstery.  Most of this is scheduled to take place over the summer and autumn.

I returned just in time for the steaks.  Herself had gone for the Rib-eye while I had settled for the Sirloin.  Cooking a steak to the customers requirements must be the least exact science known to man.  I had asked for medium rare, so, knowingly, they had cooked it the rare side of medium.  With a steak it is always safer to under-cook it slightly, so if anyone complains, they just give it another ten seconds.  Better than throwing it to the dog and starting again.  It came served with the traditional steak garnish of flat mushroom and grilled tomato.  And you can’t argue with that kind of tradition.  We also had proper fat chips, and a rocket salad.  Herself loved the salad, rocket leaves, freshly shaved Parmesan and balsamic vinegar.  It went perfectly with the steak, she said.  So know I suppose we will be having a lot more salad at home.

The service was attentive, and not rushed, but far from slack.  They just get on with it in a calm and professional manner.  They have a simple white uniform with a long black apron.  These are a good idea, they are easier to change than a whole shirt in the middle of a busy night.

After the steaks we had a little rest before choosing a dessert.  We were pretty full so we agreed that one to share would be adequate.  After some debate, as we do about such things, we finally agreed on the Baked New York Cheesecake with a berry coulis.  And also, a cappucino for me.  We concluded that we made a very good choice, it tasted fantastic, and creamy without being too heavy.

On our way out we said goodbye to Gemma, who greeted us earlier, and told her a little about the website.  She was the epitome of charm with a lovely smile.

So to sum up:  Bank is one of the city’s leading restaurants and takes it’s responsibility very seriously.  It’s food is first rate and it’s staff are wonderfully professional.  It has a great location and, for the quality, is far from overpriced.  We recommend it highly.

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