The Old Bank Brasserie, Swindon – A Review

I called in for brunch at the Old Bank Brasserie on Wood Street this morning, as on the whole the food there has been pretty good in the past (if a little pricey, perhaps). Although it runs up to 1145, the breakfast menu is pretty limited (there are about 10 items to choose from, but most appear to be egg-and-toast variations – egg on toast, egg and soldiers, French toast, etc.).

I plumped for two poached eggs on toast, with extra bacon. I like my bacon crispy, so I asked and got it just how I like (plus it was quite thick cut – again, just how I like it). I have to say, the eggs were perfect – runny inside, with just a hint of white that was yet to be fully cooked. But the toast? Oh very dear… If Mothers Pride did a bloomer (I have no idea, before you ask – and frankly I’m not sure I care), then that bastard love-child of stabilising agents and mill house floor scrapings that pass for flour was the toast that sullied my plate – doily thin, anaemic as a Glasgow tan, and not a solitary wheat germ in site. And I obviously missed the memo about butter having been outlawed.

My partner had the French toast with caramelised apples and maple syrup – it looked, and tasted, lovely. The apples were piping hot, maple sweet, and beautifully cooked, and there was enough maple syrup on the side to attend to the sinking ship that my brunch partner was rapidly becoming! But then I suddenly became insanely jealous – the bread was wonderfully moist, thick and chunky. Why couldn’t my toast have been like that, instead of the supermarket own-brand place mat offering I got? Safe to say it ruined the dish for me. Harsh, perhaps? Maybe; but then the Old Bank Brasserie looks to have standards, and this has been borne out by food I’ve had in the past, so the quest for high praise has a price.

I personally think anywhere that advertises ‘breakfast’ up to 1145 is at some point really talking about ‘brunch’ and a Brasserie should actually do a brunch menu – and when I think about brunch (which I do quite often, truth be told), I think Eggs Benedict, short stacks & crispy bacon, thick buttered hot cinnamon toast, sumptuous muffins, crumpets. I don’t think about unbuttered cardboard.

Other than the fact that there were no condiments, the toast was the only downfall. That being said, I won’t go back there for brunch until I’ve run out of places to go in Old Town.

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