Everyday luxury is about finding the time to do something lovely amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The well-known institution and scene of this culinary experience is perfectly placed, near Bank underground station, and perfectly designed, in the grand building that was previously a bank, to make this possible. Fittingly, it was home to the now-defunct Midland Bank’s Headquarters, a bank born in the same part of the world that I was. A hotel, underground spa, members-only spaces, restaurants (nine), cafes, bars and dancefloor all under one very lofty, marble roof, with the members-only rooftop bar on top of that. Get glamorous with your girlfriends, arrange a romantic rendezvous or quite simply pop in for poké toute seule. Although at the heart of Bank in a former bank, you can enjoy yourself here without breaking the bank.
I’ll get to the poké shortly because first, I’d like to remark on the single most enjoyable cocktail I’ve ever had. This is remarkable because, before this, espresso martinis were my favourite alcoholic beverage, morning, noon or evening time (head to Royal Exchange Grind, also nearby Bank station, for a breezy one of those). That is before I had a Tartufo. Regular readers will know about my penchant for porcinis (and alliteration); that this truffle-infused potion worked like magic for me will be no surprise to those of you. Still, it surprised me. Served at one of the countless bars by a waiter dressed for the occasion, it was at once rich, delicate, tart and mild and so perfectly chilled. Lavender was a pretty addition which balanced the depth and mushroomi-ness of the drink. The whole experience was dream-like; I enjoyed sipping my Tartufo all night. It’s a heady drink – gin is one of its ingredients – so if something to eat hadn’t already been on the agenda that evening, it was after a few minutes of this.
We arrive, satisfied, at poké. Kaia offered three poké bowls: “Ahi Tuna”; “Salmon” and; “Rainbow”. My friend and I both chose the salmon. It was a refreshing, nutritious and neat way to feel nourished without feeling overly full. The view, the company, the evening and the drink were more interesting than the poké itself. I’d still give it a nod for somewhere to grab a pleasing bite at The Ned.