Venues are rarely at their best when preparing food for Christmas parties, with the large numbers to be served resulting in something more akin to mass production than quality cuisine. This was definitely the case at The Old Bank. The ‘Cream of Carrot and Coriander Soup with a hint of ginger and garnished with garlic croutons’ tasted more like cream of cardboard, with the ginger and garlic indiscernible. For the main course, the turkey had been cooked into submission — it was stodgy and lacked texture. And whilst the stodgy meat was plentiful, the serving of vegetables was miserly. Worst of all was the ‘Rich Baileys bread and butter pudding, mixed with toasted almonds, cooked until golden brown and served with vanilla ice cream’. Well, yes it was cooked until golden brown and it was served with vanilla ice cream. There were also a few bits of almond. But it was neither rich, nor matching the description of ‘bread and butter pudding’. As the photograph shows, it was little more than a single slice of toast. At over £30 for three courses (excluding drinks), I expected far better.
In contrast, Fletchers provided a reasonable meal at a much more reasonable price (£18.50). Pork, apple & Calvados pate with toast starter was fine if unremarkable. For the main course, roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, vegetables and roast potatoes was tasty though not overly tender. However, the meal ended on a high with ‘Chocolate Box Shortbread base topped with an indulgent Belgium chocolate mousse with a cream caramel centre’. That chocolate mousse was exquisite.