The launch of Bank in Brindley Place five years ago was one of the first signs that Birmingham was at last emerging from what had long been a gastronomic desert.
Set in the heart of the city's canal network, Bank serves up fresh, creative fare with a sense of flair. The restaurant has successfully blended its attractive setting with good old-fashioned service values. It has a buzz and a sense of theatre as you walk through the long, narrow bar into an expansive dining area.
The restaurant is invariably busy. Half the fun of lunching out has to be people-watching in between entertaining whoever you happen to be with and deliberating over the menu. Corporates on expense budgets, creatives from the media industry and international visitors to the nearby convention centre regularly mingle here. During the summer months an outside terrace is an attractive option.
The menu offers a lively combination of mainly French and English classics, and all the dishes have a twist on the conventional. I opted for the prix fixe lunchtime menu - chargrilled rump of beef, not with roast spuds and Yorkshire pud, but chilli and coriander noodles. It was like the place itself, a bit hot.
Where: Brindley Place, Birmingham
Contact: 0121 633 4467
How much: £20 for three courses with wine