The closure of high street banks has been called a national crisis.
In Hathersage, the gap left on the high street by the closure of NatWest has finally been filled by something far more exciting.
The Bank House has embraced the history of the site in its design, with the bar built around the former bank vault, and turned a former venue for cashing cheques into one for sharing croquettes and cocktails.
”I opened my account here five years ago”, said Lawrence Key, director, who has previously worked at Chatsworth and in Castleton in the industry.
“The bank vault is still the central feature, as the bar, and we’ve tried to keep as many features as we could.”
The bar and restaurant opened around eight weeks ago, and you can see how it would offer something new to the country community.
It’s markedly different from the rustic pub you might expect on the doorstop, and has a contemporary feel throughout, with cool lighting, mosaic tiles and modern touches.
Lawrence added: “I love Spain, I love Barcelona and the overall aim was to make it feel as though you are in a bar just off the Ramblas, with the food to go with it.
“It’s all about casual dining, we wanted it to be a friendly relaxed environment where people could share their food and have a great time.”
The location is convenient when it comes to supplies.
“All of our meat is delivered on foot from the butchers in the village”, said Lawrence.
“I can look out of the window and see the shop down the street.
“We use local suppliers as much as possible.
“I think there was a gap in Hope Valley as a whole for something like this, a bar rather than a pub, and not just a restaurant. It is bringing a little bit of Sheffield into the valley, that was the aim.”
It was a ten minute drive from S11 out to the beauty of Hathersage, and unlike in most of S11, we were able to park right outside.
We were impressed by the staff before arriving, as they had bent over backwards to change our reservation – not once but twice.
And once inside that continued. All the staff were wearing smart, matching uniforms without being too formal, and were friendly but not over familiar.
If you can head here on the train, or as part of a weekend stay, there are over 100 gins available, all listed in a veritable bible of the stuff.
We were in the car and so stuck to sharing a bottle of red, a rather good tempranillo for £15.
Most of the menu is taken up with the tapas options, although there are also pizzas and some mains.
We decided to stick with the small plates for both starters and mains.
Perhaps that’s why we over ordered to a ridiculous extent. The nine dishes were far from a Spanish tapas size, and two or three each would have sufficed. It is fair to say our table was heaving.
The brisket croquettes sounded so good we ordered two portions, unwilling to share.
This at least proved to be justified.
Tender chunks of pulled beef were inside the firm, golden case of well seasoned breadcrumbs. There was an almost perfumed aroma from the meat – beautiful.
My gambas pil pil were another highlight. Fat, juicy prawns were brimming with flavour, both from the sweet flesh and the contrast of garlic butter, soaking through to an (unnecessary but tasty) slice of bread below.
They were flecked with coriander and garnished withlemon.
His chicken wings were fine examples too, all silky meat and crispy skin.
Empanadas packed a punch, both from the meat inside the pastry and a sharp little chilli dip on the side.
Somewhere in the mix – I think it was part of the croquettes – was a dinky pot of divine beef gravy, which we fought to dip our various food items into.
It was intensely meaty and silky in texture.
By now the place had started to fill up – we’d eaten early, but crowds of evening drinkers and diners were arriving by 7pm. There was a lovely buzz to the atmosphere.
The bowl of chorizo was done well, while the patatas bravas had the right Spanish flavours in the tomato sauce. Crispy fries, too, were flavoursome.
A splash of colour came from the allotment-fresh tomatoes, three colours in total, with a smidge of ricotta smeared underneath.
We made a tactical decision to take some of the savoury leftovers home, and sample dessert.
It’s a small selection at the moment, although a new menu is on the way, bringing with it a crumble made with apples from the orchard of Lawrence’s grandad, and a cookie dough.
Both my passionfruit cheesecake and Liam’s chocolate marquise were executed well. Slim portions of rich, decadent chocolate for him, while mine had a clear base, creamy middle and vivid orange topping.
The passionfruit ice cream, compote and fruit to the side were a fresh finisher.
Overall, a fantastic meal worth driving out of Sheffield for.
The Bank House, Main Road, Hathersage
Tel: 01433 449060