Another weekend away, another half marathon and another hunt for the ideal dinner venue that would accommodate my husband’s rather particular tastes as well as my need to carb-load before running 13.1 miles along Brighton’s prom. Despite these exacting requirements, we actually came up trumps as after a bit of Googling, the other half found The Old Bank Steak and Ribs restaurant. Not only did it come with a meat-infested menu that suited both of us, but it was a mere seven minute walk from our apartment, making it simple to walk there and stagger back.
On arrival, I got the distinct impression that The Old Bank was not your typical tourist hotspot, but instead a haunt for locals coming for a slap-up meal with their families as a treat for the weekend. Its plain white walls were decorated with local artwork that was available to buy, touches of pale brickwork added a homely vibe, while mid-red coloured leather booths in sociable horse-shoe shapes accepted groups easily. My husband and I were ushered to a small table snuggled in the corner, laid for two with white painted dining chairs. It felt nicely private and tucked away, ideal for a romantic date night.
The menu was pretty basic, however it had some real gems of home-style cooking that us millennials sometimes don’t have the time to rustle up when dining a-deux. For example, I couldn’t resist picking the mac and cheese for my starter. Partly because cheese is a rarity in our house due to the hubby’s dairy intolerance, but also because I absolutely love this pasta-laden dish. Served in a quaint white ramekin, the tiny macaroni pasta tubes were cooked all the way through rather than al-dente, which I much prefer, and the cheese sauce was wonderfully yellow and unctuous as I glooped my fork through it. The top of the mac and cheese, which had been dusted with yet even more cheese, had also been grilled for extra crunch to add a slight difference in texture to the lovely soft, cheesy mass beneath. Some may call mac and cheese a bit plain Jane, however this was a lovely treat for my starter and I found it very tasty.
For main course, I was looking for something protein and carb heavy to help prep my muscles’ energy stores for my run the next day. With this in mind, I was all over the steak option, which came with wonderfully fat chips, a cluster of mushrooms, a segment of tomato, some greenery and I had also opted for garlic butter as my sauce option. Again, another basic menu option however it was still a delicious meal. I had my steak cooked medium-rare and this was delivered on, which is always good, and I found the meat nice and juicy too. It wasn’t the most tender steak I have ever eaten, however it still cut slickly. I smeared the dip dish of garlic butter all over my meat so that it melted in great pools of herby butter, and sunk into the succulent steak. I found it a good combo, however the butter could have been more garlicky in my opinion. The chips were nice also, although in my view, they reminded me a bit too much of the Homepride chunky oven chips I do at home. They were still tasty to eat and worked well with my steak, however there just wasn’t that restaurant gleam I was looking for. The mushrooms I palmed off on to the husband as I dislike the slimey little buggers, however the tomato was yummy when paired with the steak and the leaves acted as both garnish and something lighter to eat with the meat. On the whole, it was pretty standard fare but it hit the spot and was a decent meal.
We also ordered some onion rings to have as a shared side. These again were pretty standard; the batter was a little soggy and the onion a bit misplaced at times, but it was ok with the steak.
I couldn’t leave without giving my sweet tooth a seeing to. The dessert menu was very simplistic with not a great deal of choice; I found it comprised basically of different sundaes that was the same vanilla whipped ice cream matched with different sauces and toppings. Although simple, I am somewhat of a sundae fiend so I had no difficulty in opting for a banana split type dessert. Served in a glass, boat-shaped dish, my split banana housed tall whirls of vanilla whipped ice cream, hidden underneath which were melted chunks of Twix chocolate for a chocolate, biscuit and toffee crunch that is quite irresistible. Drizzled with chocolate and caramel sauces too, I really did feel like the kid let loose in the candy store, although I was also polite and offered the other half one of my two chocolate wafers that speared victoriously from the peaks of my ice cream. A childish dessert it may be, but sometimes, there’s nothing wrong with that.
To go with my food, I did order a glass of wine. Because I had ordered steak, I decided to go for red wine and I was instantly drawn to one which was described as tasting like raspberries and cream. Weirdly enough, it really did. The berry tones were smooth and well-rounded while the cream was a softer, sweeter texture that came as a backnote as the end of your sip. A very lovely wine; a shame that I was restricted to just the one glass due to my run!
On the whole, the service was prompt and polite so no complaints there. However, it was pricier than we imagined. Granted, we both chose expensive cuts of steak (what can I say, we like us a bit of quality meat), but for the overall quality of the food, it was probably a bit overpriced. Despite that, I felt the food was tasty and I certainly chowed down well and enjoyed my meal. It was simple, family food that gave mum the night off and appealed to everyone. I left feeling nice and full due to the portion sizes and I had a very lovely evening. A nice, quieter spot for a Saturday night in Brighton.