Restaurant Review – The Old Bank, Swindon
First of all, I have to apologize for a lack of photos to accompany this review. My camera was in my bag, just waiting to jump out and capture each dish as it arrived. But, each time I got carried away, and got stuck in before remembering that I should have photographed the dish. This happened 3 times. You could say that this is a testament to how good the food actually was. And it was, it really was. My husband even said that it was the best meal he’d had in Swindon by a long way – praise indeed.
But first, let me take a step back and describe the restaurant a little. As the name suggests, the building used to be a Bank, located on Wood Street in the Old Town of Swindon. The ground floor consists of a small cocktail bar, and the dining area. The bar is often host to live Jazz music, and on Saturday we were treated to a solo Saxophonist. The volume was just right to ensure a mellow background noise to our meal. There are 2 more floors above, each hosting a separate bar.
While browsing the menu we thought it would be nice if we could have just one glass of something bubbly, before having wine with your meal (it was our anniversary after all). We were quite impressed to be offered bottles of ‘baby’ for around £7 a bottle – not only is it my favourite champagne, we thought the price was quite reasonable too. The wine list offers plenty of choice, and to accompany the rest of our meal, we plumped for a full-bodied Pinot Noir.
The summer menu can be described a contemporary, with a good selection of dishes. The menu has recently been changed, following the acquisition of a new Chef – Jim Mckenzie, formerly of The Three Crowns, Brinkworth.
To start we both the Scallop and King Prawn Salad. This consisted of two plump scallops and 2 king prawns, presented on a rectangular platter with salad and a balsamic dressing. I would have never thought to pair prawns with balsamic vinegar, but it turned out to be a beautiful combination, and one which I will try at home. This dish was even declared delicious by my husband who doesn’t usually like fish – this was his first taste of scallops.
For our main course, I went for the Guinea Fowl wrapped in Parma Ham. The meat was beautifully moist and tender, and complimented well by the rich Madeira sauce. My husband had the day’s special – Venison, served on a bed of mash, and in a red wine sauce. Again the food arrived beautifully presented, with a side dish of vegetables between us. The portion sizes were perfect, meaning that we both had room for dessert.
My husband opted for the Vanilla Creme Brulee, and practically licked the dish clean. I had the selection of cheeses – unfortunately I don’t remember what the cheeses were – which was a very generous sized dish indeed. Despite my best efforts, I was unable to completely clear my plate, but I enjoyed every crumb that I did manage. This was served with a glass of port, which I gave to my husband not being a fan myself.
To finish, we had to have one of the excellent Mojitos – the best that we have ever come across.
This restaurant ticks all the boxes for me – great food, great wine, great staff, and great atmosphere.