Earlier in 2020, Bancone Golden Square appeared on the food scene and returned boasting more bowls of unctuous pasta from culinary director, Michelin-starred chef Claudio Melis, and Head Chef Stefano Cilia.
Bancone – which means ‘counter’ in Italian, is very same, same yet different to the original which opened in Covent Garden early 2019. If you were betting on marbled counters, sympathetic lighting and a fresh pasta-focussed menu then you’re in luck. Granted if it’s not broken, don’t try and fix it. The Covent Garden iteration of the Bancone earned itself a Michelin Bib Gourmand within its first year of opening so; it’s safe to say that they’re on to another winner.
There’s an inviting, comprehensive aperitivo section so whilst I waited for my guest I ordered a Orange Blossom Negroni which had the right amount of chunky ice and a twist of orange. Inside, counter seating is still a prominent focus with marble surfaces wrapped around the 4,000 square-foot restaurant which includes an olive tree.
Fashionably late, my guest’s arrival meant we could finally commence with the carbicide we had starved all day for. After a quick peruse of the antipasti section, we settled on honeyed garlic foccacia, generously studded with cloves of roasted garlic and slathered with honey, closely resembling a Chesterfield sofa (Google it); perhaps equally as comforting. Smoked duck breast’s simple yet vague heading left us curious. Beautifully sweet yet savoury slithers of cured duck breast were quickly revealed and demolished.
A compelling line-up of pasta dishes can be found on the menu, some familiar faces like the infamous silk handkerchiefs with walnut butter & confit egg yolk and the cacio e pepe. Instead we opted for the recommendations from the autumn menu; squid ink tagliolini, sautéed squid, confit tomato, garlic & chilli, pappardelle, sautéed chicken livers, brandy & sage butter and the potato gnocchi, oyster leaf, lemon & seaweed butter.
Long filaments of black tagliolini encased delicate batons of squid, was incredibly savoury and had a wonderful smoky taste, covered in what looked like katsuobushi . Thin sheets of pasta was tangled between delicately cooked chicken livers still blushing on the plate complimented by the brandy and sage butter which was like winter in a bowl.
The knockout dish however was the unassuming potato gnocchi with oyster leaf, lemon & seaweed butter. This mind-boggling bowl of pasta which looked like a pudding resembled an Amalfi lemon tart, then presented wonderful salty and savoury notes which reminded you that you were in fact eating an incredibly moreish bowl of pasta. The photo at the bottom of this feature just about does it justice.
Between courses we finished a bottle of Sangiovese di Romagna, before finally biting the bullet and ordering desserts. Our stomachs warm and heavy, we shared marinated pineapple, mango foam, basil & amaretti. But you don’t go to Bancone Golden Square for the pudding. You go for the potato gnocchi, oyster leaf, lemon & seaweed butter.
Bancone Golden Square is truly all you could possibly ask for, it’s both delicious and affordable. As Arnie once said, “p-asta la vista, baby…” and just like Arnie, “I’ll be back”.
To discover more, visit: bancone.co.uk/golden-square
All imagery courtesy of Bancone.
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