The Old Post Office Has Taken On A New Gastronomic Look


As an avid letter writing schoolgirl I never thought decades later I would be climbing the stairs of the iconic G.P.O. building in City Square, not for a stamp or to post my letters,  but to sample stylish and inspirational cocktails and the tempting offerings of The Banyan Bar and Kitchen.

Although it was a Sunday evening the bar was reasonably busy and obviously had been earlier, as when diners enquired about ordering their famous Sunday lunches they were disappointed as they had all gone.

Knowing how famous The Banyan Bar is for its cocktails we just had to pay homage to them. We opted for two, which we two cocktail loving people had never tasted before,  despite both of us having travelled the world and sampled cocktails in the most far flung places. Yes I’ve had a Singapore Sling in the very place is was invented!

Most of the cocktails on the menu were “cocktails with a new twist”. I opted for the gin based Violette. It was sharp and fragrant  whilst my colleague chose  the Pistachio Espresso Martini, a new take on her favourite and one which you could certainly smell the coffee she declared.

The restaurant has joined the growing trend to serve small plates which work well either as nibbles with drinks or as starters. My choice of deep fried brie wedges did not disappoint. The coating was crispy and the warm brie liquid and hot unlike the rubbery textures one often finds in restaurants and the caramelised onion chutney provided the perfect accompaniment.

The tempura prawns and pak choi with a fresh lime and chilli dip were a great combination which my colleague thoroughly enjoyed remarking that the batter was simply amazing and the ultra large prawns were hot and tasty.

I looked upon my main course as a chance to indulge myself in a real treat and I was not disappointed. I chose the Prince’s Trust Burger, which 25p from its sale goes to the Prince’s Trust Charity. It was stacked with crispy bacon, mayonnaise, Monterey Jack cheese and onion rings served with house fries and salad on brioche bun. The burger itself was moist and although I like my burgers well done was cooked to perfection and not dry.

My colleague opted for Chicken Brest Skewer served with warm Mediterranean flatbread. It came chargrilled and layered with red onion, courgette and peppers with a side of house fries and a choice of sauces. A pleasing dish it was tasty although the flat bread could have been a little warmer.

Our naughty but nice course took quite some deciding on. For me the luxury ice-cream came out on top. Served delightfully and to the right temperature it was creamy and a real winner. “To die for” was how my colleague described the Salted Caramel and Chocolate Torte served with honeycomb ice-cream it was certainly very “more-ish”

We finished with liquor coffees but this was where the bar fell down. They came luke-warm, weak and no way resembling Irish Coffee with not a sign of the whipped cream top. Perhaps the staff that particular night had had no  training on how to create these after dinner drinks which a lot of people look forward to.

Banyan Bar and Kitchen can be anything you want it to be. It’s food is tasty and reasonably priced and the seating areas are just so comfortable and inviting. Ideal for lunch, after work drinks, cocktails with friends, family meals or special nights out – it has a great ambience that can change with your occasion or mood – and there’s a large outside area if you want to dine alfresco.

The Banyan Bar and Kitchen, 2 The Old Post Office Building, 0113 243600 is open seven days a week from 10.00am to 12.00am

Liz Coggins

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