Last Updated on November 22, 2021
Perfect Pasta in Soho!
The last few years have seen a resurgence of interest in pasta with restaurants such as Padella, Lina Stores, Pastaio and the first Bancone gaining plaudits and tremendous popularity for their homemade small plates of Italian comfort food.
Restaurateur Will Ellner has now opened a sister outpost to the Covent Garden Bancone deep in the heart of Soho, just off Golden Square, and fortuitously for me, London Unattached has been invited to review.
Bancone means bar or counter and the interior has three: by the window, around the chef’s station and next to the signature olive tree where you can sit, eat and enjoy the buzz of the stylish young Soho crowd.
Alternatively, there are olive-green banquettes with matching tiles, a couple of discrete booths, or tables with wire chairs and along with the low lighting from the retro hanging lamps you could be forgiven for thinking you’re in Milan. For good measure, there is also a 90 cover cocktail bar in the basement.
But I’ve come to eat and on a chill evening, there’s not much more enticing than a bowl of steaming pasta. But before the pasta must come the antipasti and a crisp glass of Prosecco to stir the appetite.
Bancone has an exciting list of small plates/starters. Charred Hispi cabbage had a hint of sweetness to counteract the char. Served with chilli, garlic and a dollop of aioli it felt like a healthy way to approach the luxuriant pasta dishes to come.
A creamy Burrata came with roasted pumpkin and walnut creating a pleasing mix of textures with a bit of bite from the walnut.
But the main event at Bancone is the pasta and rather impressively there is gluten-free pasta available too. I opt for one of Bancone’s signature dishes. Pasta silk handkerchiefs are slathered with walnut butter and there’s a confit egg yolk in the middle topping it off. The dish is delicious, soft and gentle.
Tagliolini with autumn truffle is the luxury option on the menu. It is served very al dente with lots of butter lubricating the pasta and the slivers of truffle that infuse the dish with its rich fragrance.
The pasta disappeared quickly and soon it was time for dessert. Shards of pineapple were marinated in star-anise infused sugar syrup with mango foam, a hint of basil and the crunch of crushed amaretti on top. It was a delightful pick-me-up.
I also enjoyed the limoncello semifreddo covered with crushed pistachio and a raspberry coulis.
Bancone is a great Soho option. It’s perfect if you want to meet up with friends or colleagues somewhere lively with some great nosh and it’s also perfect for a pre or post-theatre pit stop. Who knew pasta could be so much fun!
8-10 Lower James Street, Soho, London W1F 9EL
Looking for something different? check our roundup of restaurants in Soho