Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Bank, Yarraville


Big things are brewing at Yarraville's The Bank.  This gorgeous heritage building occupies a top-notch spot in the Village and recent developments are very exciting.


Owner Bernard Mondon has assembled a dream team of sorts, with James Kummrow emigrating from Dunkeld's Royal Mail Hotel, which scored a coveted three hats in the most recent Age Good Food Guide.  In addition, great steak pedigree is virtually in the bag by Conall Flay, ex-The Station, coming on board.


The wine list's currently in development with the help of Sommelier Jeremy Shiells of the Royal Mail.  Winter comes through in all its cosy root veg glory on the menu - think seared scallops with smoked beetroot puree and silverbeet, or slow-cooked pork belly with pear puree and baby turnips.

Roasted Jerusalem artichoke veloute, sunflower seeds, golden raisins $12

Jerusalem artichokes are a somewhat intriguing vegetable that are neither artichoke nor from Jerusalem. They're a knobbly kind of tuber looking not unlike ginger.  This veloute (a roux-thickened soup) was so luxurious, rich and buttery.  Loved the inspired addition of swollen golden raisins that popped like sweet beads in the mouth, plus the occasional crunch of tiny toasted sunflower seeds.

Leek, mushroom, goats cheese and hazelnut terrine, $15

The menu proper is light on vegetarian options, but a specials board offered a few gems.  Here, a fat mushroom was surrounded by creamy goats cheese, with round leek sections forming the final border.  While the veloute had turned a humble tuber into something magical, to me this was the sum of its parts.  On this chilly night, my friend said she had serious food envy of my warm, snuggly soup.

Can we just pause a minute and check out the prices?!  Honestly, I could have stopped right here and been down $12.  We're talking very generous serves.  Now, maybe that's my fault because the section we chose from is called "Market Harvest" rather than "Entrees", but make sure you come hungry or otherwise, stomach rapidly filling, you may approach mains with apprehension rather than anticipation.

Roasted free range chicken, bacon and sage stuffing, onions, carrots $28

...Sorry, what was I saying?  Full?  Oh - um - I meant famished!  Now, ordering chicken breast might seem like a bit of a castrato effort but this is one spunky bird.  The skin was golden, the white flesh incredibly juicy, and on top popped sweet puffed grains which added snap and crackle.  Melty-soft mini onions complemented stuffing rich with bacon, while baby carrots offered innocent sweetness.  Delicious.

Cone Bay W.A. barramundi fillet, olive oil crushed potato, watercress, lemon $29

This is very special fish.  Just off tiny Turtle Island off the pristine, remote WA coast, barramundi are raised in vast ocean pens for six months before harvest.  Go on the virtual tour on the website to see what best practice looks like (never thought I'd daydream about working on a fish farm!)  This is one fish I wouldn't feel guilty about eating, and the flavour was totally no compromise - delicate petals of mild white flesh.

Quinoa and caramelised cauliflower $7

Continuing the generous theme, The Bank's mains don't really need sides, but anything "caramelised" demands investigation in my book.  Loved this combo of nutty, al dente quinoa and cauli florets just kissed with crispness.


Chef James kindly did up this super-purty sampler of sweet nothings.  Apparently his dad had told him, "Don't you go getting too fancy," so the triple cream cheesecake in the middle is his mum's recipe...  Well, at least right up until Mum puts it in the trusty springform!  This was just delish, the gorgeous house-made lime juice jelly cutting through the luscious cream cheese crème.  On the right was a milk chocolate parfait, which in this world of 85% cocoa or nothing was a ballsy, retro move, but one that paid off in spades.  Coffee was the secret ingredient that balanced the sweetness while salted caramel added more deep, dark flavour notes to bounce off.  Carrot cake on the left was quite lovely but got overshadowed by her two more flamboyant plate mates.


"No more," we cried, and a great short mac with Syndicate coffee (from Richmond) was a satisfying final chord.

Finer dining destinations are thin on the ground in the west, so this new, "up-town" direction for The Bank is both a smart and a very welcome move.  The Station Hotel is my all-time happy place, and like The Station, The Bank offers top-notch fare alongside down-to-earth western suburbs hospitality.

The Bank (food & wine) on Urbanspoon

13 Ballarat Street, Yarraville
Phone:  9362 7222

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  1. on the front page of epicure! I'm so proud of you!! and of Footscray by association!

    1. Awwww fangs! Sorry such a delayed reply, have been taking some time to finally exhale!!!

  2. Ooh la la, a taste of The Royal Mail in Footscray. Love it! That quinoa with cauliflower has my heart pounding. And the crispy barramundi, beautiful.

    Congratulations again on your big cover. So well earned!

  3. This looks great - looks like a delicious menu!

    Also, great article in The Age today. Well done :)

    1. Thanks so much Jac. The menu is really good. They have a 'chicken and chips' that I had to restrain myself from ordering!

  4. I commented on your Age article today not realising it was you and including a link to your blog. Oops! Great article and congratulations.

    1. Aw I saw that, thanks Monica! Great to see you're still reading and enjoying it!

  5. So many vegetarian options! We had a disappointing fancy dinner year a few NYE's ago, so very pleased it's had a "Re-do"... xoxo

    1. Veronica, from what I hear you are unfortunately not alone, but lots of folks are saying the rebirth as such is making them give The Bank a second chance. Yarraville certainly could do with that 'top tier' option, especially now Delizia in nearby Seddon has been shut for a while.


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