Restaurant review: Penkul & Banks, EC2A

The stunning raw tuna dish, served with avocado, raddish, ponzu and a seriously hot wasabi

The stunning raw tuna dish, served with avocado, raddish, ponzu and a seriously hot wasabi - Credit: Archant

Writing about new Shoreditch hot spot Penkul & Banks seems like an utter waste of time. There are very few (not horribly clichéd) words to write about it- you just have to go.

The super moist pork belly dish, served with choy and quince

The super moist pork belly dish, served with choy and quince - Credit: Archant

Fine, it’s a bit pricey and a bit cool. But it’s a bit pricey and a bit cool for good reason, it’s utterly brilliant.

New head chef Matt Bishop has clawed back this restaurant’s potential, after some pretty damning reviews under its old name Beard to Tail, the place has reinvented itself, the menu is astounding and the drinks are strong.

With tapas dishes drawing inspiration from Bishop’s time in Hong Kong (at world-renowned 22 Ships) and London, the result is a delectable fusion of east and west, with gorgeous presentation making the whole experience feel more than a bit special.

The whole spectacle is housed in an old upholstery workshop, and the decor pays homage to its east end heritage thanks to cast-iron tables, brickwork, some old cinema chairs and lots of candles.

Penkul & Banks is a real treat

Penkul & Banks is a real treat - Credit: Archant


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The cocktail menu is vast, the staff are knowledgeable and my caramel-salted whiskey concoction was all kinds of awesome. We eventually settled down to a bottle of Brazilian chardonnay as recommended, whose crisp and limey tones perfectly complimented the fusion grub on offer.

Soon enough, our tables was bursting from left to right with an array of dishes from field to sea, with the Japanese-fried sea bass particularly standing out in an aromatic white wine vinegar broth.

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On another plate, somehow Bishop and his team have created the perfect balsamic shallots, which delicately balance the sweet San Marzano tomatoes and I’m definitely demanding the recipe. The pork belly dish, served with choy and quince, was like getting the best bits of crackling off the side of a good joint- wholesome, decadent and all round tasty.

When it came to desert, I thought the food gods had picked me up and whisked my to their world, our de-constructed dark chocolate cheesecake was soft, with distinct orange flavours, and the perfect amount to please our pallets and leave us incredibly happy diners.

The news around Shoreditch is that their weekend brunches are pretty good too, serving up tapas plates of brunchtime delights topped off with unlimited refills of prosecco and Bloody Marys. I’ll see you there on Sunday.

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