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Living - Posh Nosh: Bank on designer meal at top diner with a difference.

FOR the first time in about a year, I can claim to have gone to the Bank this week.

Bit old-fashioned, I know. Aren't we all supposed to do it over the phone or the internet these days?

But this Bank isn't the type that charges you considerable amounts to tell you you're overdrawn - it's the type that charges you considerable amounts to eat, which I find far less objectionable.

The BANK RESTAURANT AND BAR in BrindleyPlace has become a 'must' on the city's cuisine scene.

The interior design is unusual and understated - a mixture of Habitat simplicity, 60s diner-style and Nigella Lawson's kitchen (lots of brushed steel if you haven't been watching her cookery programme).

The service was faultlessly prompt without being over-attentive. While waiting to clear tables or take orders, the staff stood at stations scanning the room like Kevin Costner in The Bodyguard.

On with the food: with warm fresh bread on the table we decided to skip starters (although they sounded great) and dig into the mains. I went for grilled tuna, salsa and stir fried vegetables while my other half had confit of duck with salsa verdi and red cabbage. When prompted, we ordered a 'panache' of vegetables as a side order but - call me old fashioned, or naive, or both - we had expected that, at around pounds 12 each, the dishes would include some form of potatoes.

The duck was reported to be 'very good', if ever-so-slightly dry, but the tuna was exquisite - cooked to flaky, chunky perfection.

I'm normally up to my appetite limit after the first course but I found myself going into overdraft and ordering sticky toffee pudding - a triumph of moist, light sponge and gooey sauce. The other half's choice of Valrhona chocolate cake is also to be recommended.

For a Bank withdrawal of two main courses, a side order of vegetables, two puds, drinks and coffee we paid in pounds 47 (including tip). Definitely worth a visit. I'm sure the bank manager will understand.

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Author:McVey, Clare
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Oct 8, 2000
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