Bancone is noted for ‘fresh pasta made by hand every day’ and in particular, ‘silk handkerchiefs’ or sheets of pasta with walnut butter and a confit egg yolk.
I’d previously visited the original sister establishment in Covent Garden, where you can often see long pasta sheets being cut into ravioli in the window. So the larger branch in Golden Square was ideal for a pre theatre meal for six, particularly as it was only a two minute walk from the Piccadilly Theatre just off London’s Regent Street.
We were shown to a table in the basement which had two place settings at each end, meaning it was easy to chat. At the outset it was lovely and quiet, although we were probably noisy as there was lots of catching up to be done, but as we were leaving, it began to busy up and noise levels rose.
The simple menu had eight starters but we opted to share a couple of portions of focaccia, which was deliciously oily with a crunchy sea salt and rosemary topping.
The nine pasta choices ranging from £9 to £24 were all enticing. Two opted for the silk handkerchiefs, two for duck ragù, fazzoletti, crackling and two of us for spicy pork and nduja ragu. The latter was served with mafalde pasta, long ribbons with wavy edges, which made it resemble octopus tentacles when cooked. The ragu was plentiful and lovely and spicy.
Three opted for one of the three puddings, crème caramello, coffee and buckwheat which looked to have just the right amount of wobble and was said to be delicious.
The only minus of the evening was rather cold coffee, and despite pointing it out to the charming waitress, all she did was apologise rather than taking it off the bill or replacing it.
The mainly Italian wine list is more extensive than the menu, with the cheapest white and red being £27 with what are described as ‘cellar wines’ ranging from £59 to £185.
If you want simple, but great quality pasta in casual surroundings I’d highly recommend trying either branch.