Sep 27 2012



The Italian restaurant Banca is located in Mayfair is owned by the same owners as Le Petite Maison, and they have tried to use the same “sharing dishes” concept in Banca. The name Banca comes from the fact that the restaurant is located in a former NatWest branch, and they even have retained the functioning safety deposit boxes that are situated next to the bar area as well as the original vault door in the private dining room. The interior of the place is sophisticated and the most memorable features are these round beautiful lamps that hang from the ceiling. You know this place is really trying to be lavish and show wealth as they even had a beautiful ornamented toilet paper in the toilets, all very over the top but I kind of liked it.

The reviews of the place have been quite bad and a lot of food critics have said the food is not that impressive at all, but as I love Le Petite Maison I wanted to go to Banca to see whether it really was that bad. When I arrived, two not very intelligent ladies really took their time before they decided to pay any attention to me and to collect my coat and show me to the table. I went to Banca with my friend Sam and for our starters we decided to share the Salad of pickled mushrooms, endive and smoked ricotta, Bresaola di bufala that apparently came from Tuscany, and Thinly sliced roasted veal with tuna sauce. I had been to Le Petite Maison a few days ago and I noticed that the prices were quite similar in Banca, however the dishes are definitely not as good as in Le Petite Maison, so whilst in Le Petite Maison I can justify to myself paying £100/head for food + drink here I find it really hard for this type of food. The salad of pickled mushrooms, endive and smoked ricotta whilst was made much nicer by adding pickled mushrooms which I love, apart from that it was just uninspiring and quite bland. The veal also was not great, and you could have easily had this type of presentation and execution of the dish in a much cheaper Italian restaurant. Whilst le Petite Maison really puts an extra interesting twist into all of their dishes, Banca fails to do it. They just serve average/ decent Italian food, but it does not deserve this price tag.

For the main course Sam and I shared the “Line caught, salt crusted, oven baked” whole sea bass which the waiter had earlier recommended to us and he also insisted the sea bass would be enough for us. The sea bass cost £60, and note in another sister restaurant Il Barreto (also owned by the same people and having the same sharing concept and also Italian) the whole seabass costs £30, so here you can see Banca is really taking advantage of the fact Mayfair is full of people that don’t watch the bill and they can charge them anything for dishes. Also whilst the sea bass arrived big and mighty in front of us when they had actually removed all the salt and all the bones the fillet of fish was barely enough for the two of us and I could have easily shared another main course, so I am now left puzzled whether there was really that little to eat in that big fish or whether they hid some of my sea bass (I should have taken the picture of the final product that was put in front of us, but I simply forgot). To go with our small sea bass we had the Rocket, fresh tomato and red onion salad. So I you want Italian sharing tapas food go to Il Barreto and not Banca, as despite the glamorous surroundings the food is just not worth the price.


Date: 27/09/12

Price for 2, no alcohol, with service charge: £165.94

Location: Mayfair

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30 North Audley Street W1K 6ZG
United Kingdom
Banca Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 2