British Bankers Club has been a neighborhood icon in Menlo Park stretching back nearly 40 years. But since its 2013 closure and subsequent three-year renovation, the restaurant’s latest incarnation—which opened in December—is a modern and elegantly restored version of its former self.
The first thing to keep in mind is that nothing on the menu actually reflects British fare. Instead, the dinner menu offers a handful of American dishes with Californian and Italian influences, making it an appealing option for all palates. Start off with a crafty mixed drink like the Initial Public Offering ($15)—vodka, pink grapefruit juice and Fresno chili—or the Random Walk Theory ($16), made with with sloe gin, basil and elderflower. The drinks are pricey but pack a punch, and they’re easily followed up with one of the restaurant’s 55 wines by the glass or one of the 13 varieties of draft and bottled beer.
To start, we ordered the warm-roasted forest mushrooms ($15) braised in garlic-thyme oil, topped with crème fraîche and served alongside two hefty slices of toasted cheese bread. The mushrooms were precisely cooked and paired wonderfully with the flakey cheese bread, which was flavorful on its own but tasted even better when dipped in the oil. We also ordered the quinoa and farro salad ($14), one of four enticing options on the menu. With toasted grains as its base, cubes of roasted squash, fennel, red pepper and cucumber were delicately mixed with pickled pears, arugula pesto and a generous handful of crushed hazelnut. The salad was equally filling and flavorful.
The Bankers Club’s entree menu is fairly expansive, with a variety of land and sea dishes and one vegetarian option. We decided on the house-made ricotta gnocchi ($16) and the braised Colorado lamb belly ($24). Laden in tasty and buttery sauce, the gnocchi was rich but not overwhelming and paired well with the green onion pesto. The lamb belly was the standout, however, with every bite of the dish being more flavorful than the last. The tomato and vegetable base the lamb sat in was hearty and full of flavor, but light enough to compliment the rich lamb belly.
For dessert, try the flourless chocolate torte ($8) with Baileys ganache, hazelnuts and whipped crème fraîche. Decadent but not overly sweet, it was an excellent end to an overall delicious meal.
British Bankers Club
555 Santa Cruz Ave, Menlo Park