This place is getting rave reviews from just about everybody and deservedly so. You might think it’s all happening out East, but Heist Bank is living proof that there are cool places that don’t have an address with an E postcode.
Tucked behind Paddington Station is the canal and Paddington Basin and here you find the newly opened Heist Bank, a place where you easily spend all day, similarly to its sister restaurant Coin Laundry on Exmouth Market.
Laid back and unpretentious, with lovely, friendly staff and a common room feel, long bench seating, bistro tables and comfy sofas Heist Bank already has a well-loved lived-in feeling even though it has only just opened. There is also an outside seating area and the large windows can be pushed aside to let the summer in to the bar (one lives in hope).
One feature of Heist Bank’s menu are wood-fired pizzas featuring local cheeses, cured meats and seasonal toppings. Examples include: Lamb, Preserved Lemon, Brockley Feta & Wild Rocket (£10) Smashed Peas, Courgettes, Rosary Goats Cheese & Mint (£9) Three Mushroom, Burnt Butter White Sauce & Tarragon (£10) and, my favourite, Smoked Sausage, Hispi Cabbage, Chilli & Smoked Mozzarella (£11).
There is also a range of small plates on the menu, including cheese curd and olive doughnuts (these are seriously good!) and the very moreish N’duja croquettes with wild garlic mayo, alongside light, summery snacks such as watermelon with labneh and toasted seeds. The menu also features large dishes such as slow-roasted lamb, steak, chicken and trout, all cooked to perfection in the wood burning oven shipped in directly from Italy.
A Mr Whippy ice cream machine with grown-up toppings will take care of pudding. I’m not sure if they are on the menu, but we had a taste of a Pimms sorbet and Cornflake ice cream which were incredible. If they aren’t on there, they should be.
What would be pizza without beer? 12 local brews are on draft, from the likes of Magic Rock, Beavertown and Siren, which are also available to take out in Heist Bank Growlers. And there are also plenty of bottled beers from the Oktoberfest favourite Paulaner to wheat beers, IPAs, US brown ales and a milk stout. And anybody who can order a ‘Pressure Drop Wu Gang Chops The Tree’ without getting his or her tongue twisted at last orders has my admiration. Winee drinkers are also catered for with a long list of whites, reds, rosés and sparkling wines available by the glass and bottle.
Imaginative cocktails from the fully stocked bar include: Dark & Stormy (£9) – Goslings rum, freshly made ginger syrup and lime soda, Scofflaw (£9) – Evan Williams bourbon, dry vermouth, lemon and pomegranate syrup and Southside Fizz (£9) – A refreshing mix of mint-infused gin with lemon served long with soda. I also enjoyed the Delicious Sour (£9) – Somerset Cider brandy, peach liqueur, lemon, egg white.
There is even a separate gin & tonic menu. My favourite was made with Citadelle Gin and Fever-Tree tonic water, orange & Campari. Beautiful! Other gins on offer are Brockmans. Gin Mare, Caoruun, Beefeater, Haymans Dry, Hendrick’s and Opihr and flavourings include orange & black pepper, cucumber & rose, rosemary & olive and berries & mint.
Large serves to share (20-25 people) are available for party pre-order. They are served in large demijohns with taps enabling guests to help themselves to cocktails throughout the party.
Heist Bank is filled with beautiful seasonal fresh flowers, which you can buy and take home from its in-house artisan florist Botanique, who also have a flower shop on Exmouth Market. At the launch party we were shown how to make floral crowns, though I only had the patience to make tiara which I proudly wore all evening and all the way home. To continue the flower theme, the Heist Bank’s beer mats and take-out pizza boxes are illustrated with original floral designs by young British artists.
You’ll also find bikes stationed outside which are available to borrow for guests who want to explore the canal and local area. (I told you this place is good!)
But that’s not all. There is a foosball table and a specially commissioned Art Deco pool table custom built by award winning French artist-designer Cléon Daniel, as well as stacks of board games to keep you busy and active.
Street art, including an impressive double height installation from graffiti artist Pure Evil and canvases by my friend Thierry Noir adorn the walls on both floors.
A private party room in the basement for up to 45 people comes complete with karaoke, old Nintendos and self-service beer kegs. And more art.
To sum it all up, Heist Bank is the perfect destination for lazy weekend brunches, business coffees, take-away lunches, dinners with friends, after-work drinks and private parties. Or a game of pool. Or to buy a bunch of flowers. Or to see exciting art. And most definitely for great pizza. And beer. And cocktails. And G & T’s. Any reason, really.
Heist Bank is the latest venue of ULG, the young and dynamic collection of restaurants and bars dotted around North, Central and West London.
HEIST BANK, 5 NORTH WHARF ROAD, PADDINGTON, W2 1LA