Hello! – this isn’t some plea for you to change the location of your personal finances, it’s the Bank group’s restaurant at 45 Buckingham Gate. I did ask if there had ever been a bank on this site though, and the answer was a firm “no”
Coming in from the street, you enter a corridor with a glass wall that reveals the Zander bar, which we didn’t visit on this occasion. It’s a bit like a hotel transit area, but once out of the corridor, things open out onto a spacious semicircle of a restaurant with a lovely outdoor courtyard and fountain. This outdoor area would obviously be the prime spot to go for in the summer, but in the cool of November…well, we chickened out.
We did get a good table by the glass wall that separates the two spaces though, and some very attentive service. Before I launch into what we had, let me put in a big hand for our Italian manager and his largely eastern European team. Any reputation that the Balkans, Czechoslovakia, and some of the ex-USSR states have for dourness was totally dispelled.
I started with the Scallop Thermidor, which employed a little bit of license in the definition, being served on the half shell with a little spinach and lemon. Did I care? No – they were perfectly cooked, well coloured in the pan, and four scallops in three shells made for a good plate. Madame went for the King Prawn Tempura with chilli and lime jam, and we happily traded a taster of each.
Keeping the sharing thing going, we went on to the charcoal grilled Steak & Lobster for two at £27.50 ph, with some House Slaw and Creamed Spinach as sides to go with the hand cut chips. The rump steak is advertised as being 28 day aged, and had a rich, hearty flavour that meant I had to be scrupulous in my divvying up, or there would have been serious complaints! The price of lobster at market these days means that you are only going to get one around 900 – 1200g to share, but small can be beautiful, and it was. The 2009 Rioja Reserva kept things flowing nicely, and earned an approving eye from our stylish manager.
Desserts were a happy blur, and along with coffee and Madame’s grappa, rounded off a delightfully relaxed evening. Well done the restaurant team.
It’s a this point I have an unusual footnote to add: the gents is a Piet Mondrian-like selection of blocky, bold colours, which is just fine; but the place where one goes for a pee is like a 10 ft long mirror, which makes for a line of chaps desperate not to catch anyone’s eye (or worse), all whistling aimlessly. Which bonkers architect thought this one up?
Bank Westminster reservations on 020 7630 6644