Sitting on the corner of the traffic-logged Wells road, BANK is perhaps an unlikely location for a buzzy live-fire restaurant. The grand exterior makes a nice contrast to the modern interior, which is paired back, with brushed wooden tables and floors, white walls and black panelling.
Warm lighting and an equally warm welcome make it a nice place to be on a wet Wednesday evening. The restaurant takes a while to fill up – but by the time we’re on our second glass of light, fresh Verdejo, most of the tables around us are full.
The menu is designed to be shared, with snacks, small and large plates to choose between. Indecisive diners needn’t worry, the full selection of small plates is available for £49 (at the time of writing).
We opt for a selection of small and large plates. These come out gradually – silky grilled leeks with a crispy leek bhaji arrives with Atlantic prawns and gem lettuce. These are followed by green beans and chicken thigh yakitori. The plates are alive with colour and texture, and their live-fire cooking approach is evident in the subtle smoke and char laced through the food.
Seasonal ingredients are brought to life with clever flavour combinations and flashes of real brilliance – the confit fennel on the charred green beans is silky, rich and flavourful, and the cheddar and Marmite foam on the potato side was remarkable.
Large sharing plates include miso roasted delica pumpkin and a wonderfully tender monkfish with a Jerusalem artichoke puree with caramel undertones, perfectly offset with salty pancetta XO.
The menu is littered with gluten-free and vegan options, but the staff need a little more training on allergens to make diners feel at ease. Dessert restored any uncertainty – a burnt honey panna cotta and a baklava mille feuille are elegant and perfectly portioned.
BANK is a place to go to indulge – bring an appetite and a few companions and try as much of their exciting menu as you can.