Food: The Bank, Gateshead

Last week, I was lucky enough to be invited to try the new menu by head chef Lee Walker at The Bank, a restaurant set in a beautiful Grade 2 listed building in the heart of Low Fell. Serving up an exquisite 13-course taster menu, Walker did not disappoint the intimate group who had gathered to eat following a recent revamp of the eatery, owned by local businessman Kevin Brown.

The restaurant itself is unique to Low Fell. More of a gastro pub than anything, it boasts exposed brick walls and beautiful lighting. A nice touch is the original plans of the building, which adorn the walls upstairs. Our night started with a trio of appetizers; garlic and chilli king prawns, creamed mushroom bruschetta and charred BBQ chicken. All three were a delight. The starters were served alongside a zesty Sauvignon Blanc from the Central Valley in France. For a vino novice like me, it was a rare treat to be walked and talked through our drink of choice for the evening by their suppliers, Corney & Barrow.

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Next up was the fish course. Parma ham wrapped monkfish with a tomato and chorizo cassoulet was my winner although the traditional fish pie and tempura king prawns that followed were both delicious. After cleansing the pallet with a champagne sorbet, we moved on to the pièce de résistance. A trio of steak cuts (rump, sirloin and fillet) and a rack of lamb plated up with hand-cut chips, kale and a red wine jus was a knockout. The meat was cooked to perfection, down to the second. Their produce is sourced from local farmers, across Northumberland and Cumbria, adding a real local touch to the menu. Accompanying these were a Chilean Merlot and an Italian Amarone Classico. Both beautiful reds that I hadn’t tried and both hit the spot.

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Desserts again came as a threesome, with miniature versions of chocolate orange tart, sticky toffee pudding and poached pear with amaretto ice cream signing off the menu nicely.

Serenaded throughout by local singer-songwriter Gareth Beddard, the night was a testament to the hard work by all involved in the restaurant’s new guise, evident in the amazing food and drink they have on offer. Unlike anything in the area, you can Bank on these guys for a great night out.

Website: www.thebanklowfell.co.uk
Phone: 0191 487 9038

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