Pricey, but food is delicious and worth it for a special treat

I’VE been eyeing up Sandbank, in Leigh, for a while. What used to just be plain Bank shut its doors briefly in January and reopened gleaming and twinkling under the new sign.

It’s still the same owners, but due for a refurb, they decided more of a facelift was in order and the place looks fantastic.

Walking in I was greeted warmly by the owner. The place is bigger than it looks from London Road and a small, but stylish bar area provided the perfect spot to sip on a drink while I waited for my friend to join me.

I got a peek at a separate function room that looked ideal for a special occasion or private party.

Moving into the dining room, the atmosphere is very special, sparkling chandeliers cast a nice light and one shining black wall is broken up by a colorful fishtank.

The music was old-fashioned American songbook tunes, which lent the atmosphere a touch of refined glamor without being overpowering.

For starters neither of us could resist the grilled goat’s cheese and spinach tart. The light, flakey puff pastry was topped with spinach and a thick, creamy goat’s cheese with peppery rocket and tangy red onion marmalade. It was absolutely divine.

I then tucked into a rather special dill-encrusted grouper in saffron and lobster butter. The plate was beautifully presented with baby spring vegetables adorning it.

The portion was a little small, considering its hefty price tag, but it was delicious, although I couldn’t taste the saffron as strongly as I’d hoped.

My friend enjoyed a wild mushroom vol au vent, which was swimming in a creamy sauce and came with spears of asparagus.

The good thing about the small mains meant we definitely had room to tackle the dessert menu.

I went for an exciting looking trio of honey desserts. It arrived looking so beautiful that I could hardly bear to touch it. Slivers of strawberry and slices of dragon fruit decorated the plate.

A honey and almond brulee was topped by a nest of spun sugar, a honey and white chocolate mousse was rich and sweet, and a honey and orange ice cream took any sickly edge off the dish. It was a resounding success.

My friend decided on a milk chocolate and Baileys creme brulee, which also arrived topped with a caramelly-spun sugar nest, and she said it was a real delight, light but incredibly tasty. I was off the booze, but she washed her food down with a light, summery rose, which went down a treat.

Sandbank is pricey, but worth it for a special treat, and with upcoming menus including an I’ve Started so I’ll Finish – where you have as many starters and desserts as you can eat – as well as cookery classes and other themed menus, it’s also imaginitive and individual.

What we ate Goat’s cheese and spinach tart £6.95 Dill encrusted grouper £18.95 Wild mushroom vol au vent £17.95 Trio of honey desserts £7.95 Creme brulee £6.95

Our verdict (Out of five)
Atmosphere 5
Food 4
Decor 4
Value 3
Service 5
Disabled access Yes

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