The Old Bank is situated in a – brace yourself – old bank.
In a world with Costas and Starbucks on every corner and in every petrol station, the more independent coffee shops the better, in my view.
Particularly if they serve food, like this Orrell establishment!
It was opened by former Warriors prop Lee Mossop late last year.
He’s not the first player to move into the hospitality sector – his Salford team-mate Mark Flanagan, together with Saint Jon Wilkin, own the excellent Pot Kettle Black coffee shop in Manchester, and Warrington’s Kevin Brown is the co-owner of the Lean Kitchen in Pemberton.
On a rare morning off together, my wife and I called in. There’s no outside area so, when we called in yesterday – sun cracking the flags outside – we took a seat inside.
There are enough corners and pillars to somehow make the place feel bigger than its ground-space.
A combination of leather sofas, various sized tables, metal chairs and stools fit well with the decor; a reclaimed wood-meets-brick-meets-industrial look.
Breakfasts are served 9.30am until 11.30am, and then its lunches through to 4pm.
The lunch menu is far more extensive and varied – with soup (£4.95), a selection of sandwiches and salads (from £5.75) and a handful of hot dishes, including a vegan lasagna and two other vegetarian options which my wife (a vegetarian) liked the look of.
The breakfast menu is more limited – porridge (£3.95), Belgian waffles (£5.95), fruit loaf (£2.20) as well as three savoury options.
None of which were vegetarian, so my wife opted for The Old Bank favourite (smashed avacado, bacon and a poached egg on a slice of sourdough bread) and requested no bacon, which they offered to substitute with extra egg and avocado.
I opted for the eggs benedict, with smoked salmon, two poached eggs on sourdough bread. We ordered at the counter, with two coffees – an Americano and a Mocha – and our drinks were promptly brought over. The coffee is well-presented in personalised ‘The Old Bank’ cups, on a slate plate.
The service was friendly and attentive; the coffee strong, smooth and deliciously more-ish.
The meals aren’t particularly cheap, and those with large appetites may not find the portions particularly big, but the food was well-presented and high-quality.
The hollandaise sauce, especially, fell into the ‘would it be cheeky to ask for the recipe?’ bracket! There is the obligatory free wifi as well as a loyalty card – buy 10 drinks, next one free – and a relaxed atmosphere. Great for meetings and catch-ups.
Drawbacks? The main one is parking. The Old Bank is on Church Street, close to the crossroads – handy for locals and Winstanley College students, but anyone travelling by car needs to park on-street nearby. I doubt it’s a coincidence that ‘patron only parking’ signs have appeared at the nearby Co-op and church! We found a spot just around the corner.
The Old Bank is a winebar as well as a coffee-shop; our visit was at 10.30am – way too early, even for me, for a beer or a glass of wine.
Friends who have visited in the evening (it closes at 5pm during the week but is open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, and 7pm on Sundays) have told me of little gripes (prices, no beer on tap, only one type of red wine served by the glass...). But they’ve also complemented the atmosphere, its charm, and the occasional live-music nights – including X-Factor’s Olivia Garcia and ‘the human jukebox’ Andy Mac.
With the facing Rose and Crown long gone and the nearest pubs – the Robin Hood, The Stag and Delph – a short walk away, The Old Bank brings something different to the area. I’ll look out for future live music nights and try it myself.
And will I be back for more coffee and food? You can bank on it... sorry, I’ll go get my coat.
Eggs benedict - £7.45
The Old Bank favourite - £5.90
Large Mocha - £2.90
Americano - £2.45