So when I heard that The Bank was back in the hands of its original creator, Kevin Brown I was keen to head over the water to Gateshead to see how things had improved.
One thing that I've always loved about The Bank is its stunning building, dating back to the 1840s its position on Low Fell's high street certainly catches your eye. This year The Bank has had an extensive refurbishment and the original team are back and focussing on bringing "good food in great surroundings at honest prices".
Last Monday I was invited along to the re launch and with the promise of a four course tasting menu and live entertainment you couldn't get a better start to the week.
The Bank has certainly changed, gone is the old carpet and formal setting and instead we were welcomed into a perfect space with wooden floors and exposed lights.
With the beautiful sounds of acoustic musician, Gareth Beddard in the background a small group of us gathered in the upstairs restaurant to sample some food prepared by the Bank's original head chef, Lee Walker.
The new menu sees great quality dishes using locally sourced ingredients and our tasting menu began with a fantastic selection of starters. Garlic and Chilli King Prawns, Creamed Mushroom Bruschetta and Charred BBQ Chicken.
This was followed by a Fish Course of Tomato Chorizo Cassoulet, Traditional Fish Pie with Creamed Potato and Gruyere Crust Tempura King Prawns!
My favourite of the course was the beautiful Chorizo Cassoulet, it had a sneaky little spicy punch to it, making it the perfect winter warmer now that the darker months are approaching.
At this point I should probably confess to you that we were supposed to be sharing this mammoth amount of food with the person opposite us, except I somehow managed to be sat opposite an empty seat so had a lot of food all to myself. I promise you that I exercised a suitable amount of restraint, although it all tasted so lovely it was very difficult not to leave each plate completely clean.
The highlight of the evening for me was the Meat Course. We were each given a generous selection of Fillet, Rump and Sirloin Steak along with a Rack of Lamb with a Wholegrain and Walnut Crust and Parisian Potatoes, Kale, Hand Cut Chips and Red Wine Jus.
The steak was absolute heaven, perfectly cooked and deliciously tender I would have happily sat all night eating plate after plate full.
Our wine for the evening came from the Bank's wine supplier, Corney & Barrow. Having lived in London for a few years Corney & Barrow are no strangers to me as one of the top wine merchants in the city and it's great to see them supplying wine in Gateshead. We had a couple of whites and reds to try, chosen to perfectly compliment our food.
Now we all know I love my dessert so imagine my eyes when our last course of the evening was a selection of three. Chocolate Orange Tart, Sticky Toffee Pudding and Poached Pear with Amaretto Ice Cream. I enjoyed every mouthful of each so I really can't pick a favourite. I would definitely order any of them off the menu again.
Browsing through the Bank's menu on their shiny new website I can't help but make some plans to visit again. With a delicious looking Sunday Lunch menu and Weekend Brunch I can see myself heading back to Gateshead much sooner than I expected.