Banks Bar Bistro, Bishop’s Waltham

Banks Bar Bistro, Bishop’s Waltham

Geoff and I visited Banks Bar Bistro in Bishop’s Waltham for lunch recently. It’s another of those ‘must visit’ places on my long list which I’m slowly going through but new places keep popping up. I’d walked past the restaurant only days before (it’s a one way street and I was walking in the opposite direction being the very law-abiding cyclist that I am) and admired the lovely hanging baskets full of bright red begonias. Banks have won several Bishops Waltham in Bloom certificates in recent years.


Banks’ interior, the entrance & bar area

“Banks Bar Bistro is a privately owned restaurant situated in a delightful Grade II Listed building in the heart of the Saxon town of Bishops Waltham, Hampshire”.

Entrance & bar area

Inside is nicely decorated, with painted brickwork, wood floor, nice pictures upon the wall. Music played in the background ‘what a wonderful world‘, laid back smoochey music.

Set menu

Looking at Banks’ website after our visit it suggests that you can eat ‘al fresco’ during the summer months. It was a very hot and sunny day when we visited but we didn’t realise they had a garden (and I can’t see any photos of it anywhere) and nothing was mentioned when we were shown to a table so we presumed they didn’t have one, which is as shame. It was a lot cooler inside and I had to put a cardigan on – I always carry one, never trust the British weather!

Chicken liver parfait

Geoff and I both went for the set lunch menu which changes regularly – 2 course for £13.95 and 3 for £16.95 (Groupon have a deal for the à la carte menu and Tastecard have 2 for 1 on selected days, worth checking out).

We each ordered the same for both the starter and main course. The chicken liver parfait was smooth and subtle tasting, the toasted bread was nice too of which we were offered more but we declined. I wanted to make room for dessert

Leg of lamb steak

Our main course, the leg of lamb steak was very nice too, served piping hot. The lamb was very tender and the veg were cooked to our liking. Thankfully the red wine & mint jus wasn’t overpoweringly minty as fussy Geoffrey’s not a fan of mint.

A la carte menu & desserts

We went for two different desserts so we could share them both. The blackberry pavlova was lovely with a sharp tasting blackberry sorbet.

Blackberry pavlova

But the honeycomb parfait stole the show! A soft parfait with chunks of delicious honeycomb within and sprinkled over the plate. Served with strawberries and a strawberry compote.

Honeycomb parfait

Throughout the meal I enjoyed a glass of Gallo’s Turning Leaf savignon blanc whilst Geoff had a beer. A bottle of tap water was on the table too and we finished the meal off with an espresso each.

Geoffrey trying not to be seen but failing.

The service was very good and very friendly. The ambience was ok, probably better in the evenings I would imagine, although there were a few people dining (a few locals by the sound of it) they were all ‘oldies’. Upstairs there’s another large area for private dining.

We’ve visited several places in Bishops Waltham, Josies in the High Street; next door to that is Giorgios Mediterranean Restaurant & Bar which was ok, the tapas fairly cheaply priced but they were a little on the bland side; the Italian restaurant Piccola Roma which we’ve been to several times, although not recently; Fred’s aka The Anvil/Just in Case but only for cake and coffee on our cycle rides and our newly discovered place The Natural Deli (where we’ve had smashing coffee and cake a couple of times) which is on the opposite corner to Banks. There are two car parks in Bishops Waltham which are both cheap to park in.

Ambience 7
Quality 8
Value 8
Service 9
Return? Yes
Overall 8/10

Living life, loving cake

A x

Square Meal

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