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51 Penny St Town Centre
The Penny Bank is situated right in the town centre; a moments walk away from the New Look bus stop. You might have walked right past it, or it might be one of your favourite places to go. I’ve been for drinks, for catch-ups with friends, to see the live music and for the food. If you have a hankering for traditional pub grub, this is your place to go.
The pub is small, which can be brilliant or frustrating. However, I’ve never failed to get a table. If there’s a lot of you, I’d book in advance. The staff are friendly and helpful, and attentive enough. The atmosphere is decidedly relaxed, though, so it’s much easier to get up and walk the three whole steps to the bar if you’re ordering something. The menu caters to all tastes, I’ve had British classics such as beef stew which was absolutely bursting with flavour, and served not only with soft, doughy dumplings but a slice of buttered ciabatta as well. At first I was apprehensive about this addition, but ended up mopping up the whole bowl with it. Friends of mine have tucked into mountainous burgers and fajitas, with side portions of crispy chips and chilli nachos. Having gone there for a friend’s birthday meal I can safely say that there were absolutely no complaints.
I’ve also had Mexican favourites such as enchiladas, which you really can’t go wrong with. Choose a filling, there’s plenty of veggie options throughout the whole menu, and enjoy the wrapped tortilla, smothered in cheese and sitting on a bed of rice and refried beans. Another of my favourite was the vegetarian calzone. Having been a vegetarian for a short while last year, I can vouch that it’s sometimes difficult to find really flavoursome veggie options. The Penny Bank certainly delivered on this front with a mass of feta, mozzarella, red onion, spinach and peppers for filling. The combination was fantastic. I’ve also had normal pizza here, and it was the only disappointing thing I’ve ever tried. It was still nice, but a little undercooked considering the amount of toppings it had. I like my pizza crispy, and it was ever so slightly doughy. That said, it was still tasty, and if you like your pizza that way then by all means dive in.
The portions are huge. I’ve sampled fish and chips, although really it was more like shark and chips. While not student-discount cheap, the food is in no way overpriced, and the big portions of good quality food are worth it. If you can tie your visit in with some live music, I’d go ahead. Because the venue is small, the sound fills the place and adds to the warmth. There’s a wide range of music running on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday nights. There’s not an extensive choice of drinks such as wine, but plenty of real ales and draught beers as well as other crowd favourites.
If you’re looking to give it a try, grab some friends and explore this little gem. Treat yourself to a little home comfort; you’re probably in need of it with all those deadlines looming!