We went to Bank in St James’s for lunch. Although a hotel restaurant it does not have this feel as it has its own entrance and is only connected to the hotel via the terrace at the back. As you walk in there is a small bar at the side of the wall. The hall way past this leads to the restaurant which is split on two levels.
The restaurant on the ground level is light and airy as the end wall is glass which looks onto the hotel courtyard. The terrace is one of its selling point as there is a huge fountain with tables and chairs out in the summer (a lovely place for after work drinks if you are feeling fancy too). The hotel surrounds the courtyard into a square and is made of a lovely red brick which has white sandstone etchings on the four walls facing the restaurant.
We were seated by the window and offered a selection of bread with salted butter. The bread was sliced and there was a nice selection although I do prefer if it is slightly warm to at least seem as though freshly out of the oven. The menu is light and summary with a Mediterranean feel. I ordered a starter of scallops in a mushroom foam and my fellow diner ordered asparagus with hollandaise. The food came out at a gentle pace, not too rushed (we managed to finish our first glass of chardonnay) but timely. The restaurant was quiet and I can imagine the wait would be more arduous on busier services.
When the starters did come out they were well presented. My scallops came out in their shells and served with the foam and a herb flower garnish. The scallops were big and juicy and perfectly cooked so that they were still translucently pink in the centre. The asparagus were grilled and the sauce drizzled over the top. Both were delicious yet the asparagus was slightly overdone but it is easy to criticise some of the more basic dishes I suppose.
For main course I ordered the monkfish in a lime and coconut dressing and my friend ordered fish and chips. The fish and chips were nothing special to look at and tasted light and juicy. It was cooked well but I cannot get excited over fish and chips, I apologize. I think if serving fish and chips in a mid/high end restaurant they need to have a twist either in presentation or ingredient. My monkfish was served with tender green cabbage that was nicely seasoned. The fish had turned a light golden colour with its marinade. It was tender and light although the portion was a little on the small side so hard to appreciate the meaty texture of the monkfish.
After we had drained the last dregs of our second chardonnay we left thanking the waitress who was very friendly and helpful throughout the meal. This place is great for a working lunch as it is quiet, sophisticated yet tasty and not difficult to get through expenses. We would recommend Bank – Westminster and give it:
Food Atmosphere Service