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Monday, July 02, 2007

Bank Hotel, Newtown

bank hotel coaster

The Bank Hotel has long been a popular hang-out for Newtown locals; and the crowds have only increased after its multi-million dollar refurb. There are comfy lounges now, black leather banquettes, and a leafy open courtyard out the back filled with wooden benches, tables and warming gas lamps.

It's the food that's most often raved on about here. The attached Sumalee Thai restaurant has always had a loyal following. The prices have been hiked up these these days, but the portions are huge and our curry orders last time arrived in bowls the size of soup tureens.

Today it's a late lunch in the bar (also cooked by the Sumalee crew) washed down with schooners of Asahi and Little Creatures. Some tasty tidbits go down a treat.

Salt and pepper squid $13
served with chips

The salt and pepper squid is so very very good. Delicate scrolls of squid are amazingly tender, encrusted with a potent mix of spices that leaves your tongue tingling (and wanting more).

Chilli bean nachos $14
with guacamole and sour cream

Chilli bean nachos are also given an enthusiastic thumbs up. It's a fresh tasting ensemble, devoid of the usual greasy mince and fatty aftertaste that often accompanies this student staple. This version has light crunchy corn chips, a hearty dollop of chilli and yes, that's real undiluted sour cream on top as well (oh such a rare find indeed). The generous scattering of chopped green onion provides a welcome palate refresher.

tasting plate
Sumalee Thai tasting plaste for two $25
Spicy prawn dip and rice crackers, chicken curry puffs,
fish cakes, grilled Thai pork sausages and Thai salad

The Thai tasting plate offers a mini banquet of finger food. Flaky curry puffs, chunky slices of spicy Thai pork sausage, morsels of fish cake and golden discs of deep-fried rice crackers are plied eagerly with sweet chilli sauce and a creamy peanut satay.

Potato wedges $7

Even the potato wedges are tasty. Crisp on the outside, soft and fluffy in the middle, this giant starch offering refuses to go soggy (much to my delight when I reach for seconds and third tastings).

mieng kum
Mieng Kum $11
Betel leaf wrap with dried shrimp, roasted coconut,
fresh Thai salad and a sweet tamarind sauce

I've gone for the Mieng Kum, a dish I've struggled to find on menus in Sydney restaurants since trying a homemade version from visiting Thai colleagues. This traditional appetiser combines dried shrimp, zingy segments of lime, finely chopped onion and ginger, toasted coconut shreds, fiery slivers of chilli and the crunch of fresh roasted peanuts.

A thick sticky sauce of palm sugar, galangal and shrimp paste is both spicy and sweet. The entire concoction is rolled up in dark green betel leaves, glossy and smooth. It's an amazing taste sensation, perhaps not as good as my initial home-made version, but delicious all the same.

I'll be back for more. You can bank on that.

bank hotel

Bank Hotel
324 King St, Newtown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8568 1900

Sun-Tue, 10am-midnight
Wed-Thu, 10am-2am
Fri-Sat, 10am-4am

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Newtown--Chocolate Dog
Newtown--Gourmet Viking
Newtown--Guzman y Gomez
Newtown--Oscillate Wildly (Feb 06)
Newtown--Oscillate Wildly (Oct 05)
Newtown--Oscillate Wildly (Jan 05)
Newtown--Pasta Shot (closed)
Newtown--Rowda Ya Habibi (Mar07)
Newtown--Rowda Ya Habibi (Jul04)
7 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 7/02/2007 10:23:00 pm


  • At 7/02/2007 11:30 pm, Blogger Jess (fushmush) said…

    but most importantly... do they still do 2-4-1 cocktails?

  • At 7/03/2007 6:33 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Longrain (and copycats) all do the betel leaves whatsit. I am fond of the smoked trout version at Longrain.

  • At 7/03/2007 11:22 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Jess - I don't think so, but I can't say that with certainty. It's been a while since I've been on a cocktail crawl :)

    Hi gobsmack'd - I did notice that, but I think I'd prefer the original version. It just wouldn't be mieng kum without the dried shrimp overload. Yum yum yum! :)

  • At 7/04/2007 5:18 pm, Blogger Eileen Chong said…

    Have you tried Oceanic Thai at Clovelly? The chef from Sailor's Thai is cooking there and they do some good dishes. I love The Bank as well. :)

  • At 7/05/2007 12:02 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hehehe!! "You can bank on it" .. i like that..!

  • At 7/05/2007 12:27 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi E - I haven't been to Oceanic Thai but it sounds great!

    Hi Mama Bok - A difficult pun to resist :)

  • At 7/06/2007 10:41 pm, Blogger Anastasia said…

    the food looks great - Im going to have to give it a try sometime
    that salt & pepper squid looks Good!!


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