First it was the Newtown, then the Marly and now it's the Bank Hotel's turn to be prettied up. The gigantic drinking palace on King Street was recently acquired by the folks behind the Green Park, Kings Cross and Courthouse hotels, and they've decided to make some changes.
The first one might raise a few eyebrows. Sumalee Thai, the eatery located on the bottom of the split-level beer garden – a place that managed to combine two of Newtown's greatest pleasures, drinking outdoors and eating Thai – is no longer. It operated at the Bank for 20 years, but has been replaced with a canteen dishing out upmarket pub food.
Now, instead of satay and laksa, you'll find starters like ocean trout fish fingers, sweet corn fritters and sticky lamb ribs. The pizza menu features toppings such as roast prawn, harissa and black cabbage (and they do them until midnight on non-school nights). Mains are hearty, filling and priced to match. Grilled swordfish comes with celeriac, almond salad and tomato tapenade, while the barbecue chicken is accompanied by parmesan potatoes, broccolini and charred shallots.
This month sees the Bank team up with local brewer Young Henry’s for four weeks of food specials matched to a Young Henry’s brew. This week, it's Natural Lager paired with an Alaskan king crab club sandwich. Next week, it'll be Real Ale and a Berkshire pork chop. Then Mother Shucker beer (it's got oysters in it) will be matched to a beef cheek and oyster pie. The month will end with Red Barrel Road beer paired with arepas filled with chorizo, morcilla, chipotle, black beans and jicama slaw.
The kitchen rejig marks the beginning of the Bank's tarting up. There are plans to refurbish the inside bars (the front section currently has as much charm as an airport bar), and there are even whispers of a new balcony fronting King Street. Watch this space.
The Bank Hotel
324 King Street, Newtown
(02) 8568 1900
Mon to Wed 10am–1am
Fri & Sat 10am–4am
Mon to Fri noon–3pm, 5pm–10pm
Sat & Sun noon–10pm