Once again our motley crew were called to the scene of a good food-related incident—the incident being a new venue in town. True to our sacred oath of investigative journalism—when we danced around a burning stack of tabloids and swore to explore all of the potential new lunch spots in town—we decided to pay Banque & Bohem (the new it spot) a try. So we hurled ourselves into the House-mobile one gorgeous Friday afternoon, and off we went.
There had been rumors; rumors that nestled in Bournemouth’s evolving ‘Triangle’ district, the former Winchester Pub had undergone an incredible transformation, and we were about to step inside to see it for ourselves…
Gone is the disco soup of tinsel curtains, camouflage netting and shabby chic furniture, and in its place are jewel-ridden chandeliers, chesterfield loungers and velour flourishes, dangling inside a polished marble and mahogany shell. It really is stunning, and about as far away from its former self as it could be—the once student den is now a palace of Art Deco splendor. As we were pulling our jaws up off the floor, we were greeted by a set of friendly faces, namely Managing Director, Vincent, and marketing guru Cat Hollick. Just as we were explaining how incredible it all looked, Vincent zealously interrupted “you haven’t seen anything yet!” And led us through the back doors and into their extra dining area: a beautiful renovated bank vault, with gilded safes decoys, velvet seating and a large Neoclassical-esk painting. Upstairs there were more beautiful rooms, each with their own unique theme—the perfect setting for private dinner parties, events, or even board meetings with style.
Post tour, we were seated at a beautiful table over looking the entire restaurant, in prime venue ogling position, with open-kitchen views. Finally it was time for the main event—the food.
We scanned the menu—an eclectic mix of classics, with a few signature editions—and each decided on a unique main, to showcase the wide variety of dishes. Having weighed up the options we finally, confidently submitted our orders, and before you knew it they arrived.
The first dish to land was Ross’s ‘Fishcake’; a comfort-food favourite blend of salmon, naturally-smoked haddock, and creamy potato, served with pan-wilted spinach and a oozy poached egg. Though simple, this dish looked and tasted—according to Ross who shared none of it—amazing; crispy, melting and moreish. Next was Gary’s rich and smoky ‘Beef Short-Rib’—another triumph: slow cooked to perfection, served with silky roasted garlic mash and crunchy green beans. To my pleasant surprise my dish of choice was next up, and I had opted for a ‘Creamy Chicken Tagliatelle’, of which the sauce was cheesy and rich, whilst the smoked-chicken pieces made for an unconventional, but tasty contrast. Last (but not least) to arrive was Vicky’s Winter Salad, and it received raved reviews. Served with feta, roasted peppers, aubergine, beetroot and sweet potato, and a beautiful with honey mustard and yoghurt dressing, it was an explosion of delicious fresh produce, in it’s most refined form—and it looked incredible, seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever been that jealous of a salad.
Feeling full, we almost contemplated rolling back to the office, but not before trying the desserts—well, it would have been rude not to.
I decided that my usual gooey-fudge brownie was a pinch too far—I tried to tell myself whilst the real me cried “who are you?!”—, so I opted for the Lemon Tart instead. Buttery, sharp and served with a sweet raspberry sorbet, it was a lovely way to end a rich meal.
Among the other choices was a Vegan Brownie, which considering it had no dairy in was incredible, an Apple Crumble with a macadamia nut crust, a sinfully good White Chocolate Cheesecake, and a simple selection of ice creams for Gary. All in all, it was a sumptuous end to a pleasant lunch affair.
By Charlotte Williams
t. 01202 381769
a. 39 Poole Hill, Bournemouth, Dorset BH2 5PW