The Banc 7.3/10
VALUE FOR MONEY: 6.5/10
VENUE & ATMOSPHERE: 7.5/10
NOTE: ALL MEAT IS HALAL, NO PORK IS SERVED ON THE PREMISES, BUT ALCOHOL IS SERVED.
Since opening their doors in 2011, Jan and Fabio – lifelong friends and co-owners of ‘The Banc’, have trumped other steakhouses in popularity, and have transformed what was at first a simple restaurant (and ironically former Barclays bank) to a bustling social hangout. It was time to discover why many individuals chose The Banc to unwind after a long old week. It was incredibly easy to convince Patty that The Banc would be an excellent choice for his Birthday meal… after all, who could turn down steak and chips? We had the whole gang together, from Jugga to Jagz, and from Issa to Selma, which I knew would equate to more food, and a fuller belly than usual. It was 7.15pm by the time we pulled up next to the restaurant in Harringay, and the restaurant was heaving already.
The restaurant is rather large with 2 tiers and an adjoining shisha place. The overall atmosphere upon entering the doors is warm and friendly, something that you wouldn’t perhaps expect from the likes of Tottenham. Before anyone cries, that was a joke, (unless you’ve been to a Spurs game, in which case I was being entirely truthful).
Let’s skip our usual descriptive analogies and go straight to how our food experience was.
Mocktails were a bit pricey at £6.50, but I still ordered a ‘Honey Dew Me,’ which included passion fruit, mango juice, peach puree, sugar cane, lime juice and lemongrass. I actually loved this drink. It was thirst quenching and also had a sour kick which was refreshing. The Strawberrylicious was also quite amazing because it was like a strawberry pina colada, which incorporated strawberries, coco cream, fresh lime and pineapple and coconut juice.
We ordered a fair few portions of chicken wings (3 to start followed by another 3 because they were so good). There were 3 in a portion (£6.50), but each wing was meaty, tender, and well-cooked. The wing marinade sauce had a hint of sweet BBQ, honey and pepper, as well as a spicy punch which made this starter all the more satisfying.
The prawn skewers were cooked a lot more simply with a garlic and lemon juice dressing. Although the prawns were tasty, there wasn’t really enough to go around and there wasn’t anything particularly outstanding about these prawns to justify the £6.50 price tag.
We also ordered a second prawn starter. Prawns cooked in a shallot and pepper sauce and embedded in a shortcrust pastry. This starter seemed a bit alternative and stuck out at me from the menu. I wasn’t overly blown away by the combination though, and wasn’t fully able to enjoy the pastry due to it melting under the pepper sauce. Again, a small portion for £7.50.
The deep fried calamari was also neither here nor there for me. Although the squid was fresh, the portion size wasn’t huge, and I kind of wish the squid rings were a bit thicker. That being said, the tartar sauce was a great accompaniment, and gave the squid a tangy kick.
My favourite starter after the wings were the lamb skewers, and I essentially had to fight tooth and nail with the remainder of our dinner party to get a taste of this! The grilled diced lamb cubes were soft and tender, and were infused with some subtle tasting spices. I didn’t try the homemade chilli dip but ShakerFries was impressed with this.
It was hard for me to choose a main especially after discovering a blue cheese burger on their menu. Oh who am I kidding?! Steak always trumps burgers for me. Anyway, I did want the beef fillet steak originally, but ShakerFries, being the innately Guji man that he is, pointed out that the sirloin steak would probably be equally as good and that I would get 50g more of meaty goodness for a lower price. I gave in, and ordered my medium rare sirloin with mushroom and peppercorn gravy. I also chose the sweet potato fries and some red cabbage coleslaw to accompany my meal.
I was actually disappointed that I had managed to feel full after just the starters, especially since my main meal looked HUGE. I must say though, I thoroughly enjoyed my steak. It was seasoned simply with salt and pepper, and the steak size was rather generous. So generous in fact, that I couldn’t finish (trust me I’m kicking myself even now). I was actually blown away by how tender and juicy the meat was. Cooked to perfection and marbled with the perfect amount of fat, the steak literally melted in my mouth. I’m kinda drooling over it right now. The gravy was probably one of the best I’ve tasted. It was peppery, adding an extra depth of flavour to the steak. My only criticism is that I wish that the steak crust was a bit crispier. That seems like such a limp, unnecessary criticism, I agree. The green beans were also amazingly crunchy and added some value to the overall meal, as it was better than a whole load of boiled veg. For ShakerFries, who ordered the same steak medium, said he found the steak a bit bland, probably as we are used to Sahara Grill smothering their steak in Desi spices. Usually I would agree, but I have come to appreciate steak as a meat in it’s most natural form (seasoned with salt and pepper), and I don’t think I would really have it any other way now. I should also add that when we visited The Banc more recently and ordered the sirloin again, both of us were blown away with the quality of our meal and ShakerFries had no complaints with regard to the steak. The sweet potato fries were crisp and satisfying, and I loved the creaminess of the coleslaw, which was quite a generous portion. No complaints with the sides.
Despite my meal being amazing, one bite out of Jugga’s beef fillet steak and I had steak envy. It was twice at tender as mine, juicy yet firm. I know what I’ll be ordering next time, and I will make sure there is a next time.
Jagz was the vegetarian of our group and ordered a vegetable mousakka, (we don’t pass judgements here). This contained layers of potato, courgette, aubergine, spinach, mushrooms and peppers, topped with béchamel sauce, served with rocket salad and cherry tomatoes. This was quite a hearty meal and she said she enjoyed it a lot. Again, a generous portion size so she struggled to finish, which in my opinion is a good problem to have.
We passed on dessert because we had an AMAZING raspberry, chocolate and cream cheese Birthday cake for Patty from Lola, which was rather crumbly and scrumptious. We also had the benefit of singing ‘Happy Birthday’, which made this 31-year old incredibly humiliated. This obviously made the cake even more worthwhile.
Overall I think the service was amazing. Our mob can be a handful to deal with but the waiter did so with patience and grace. the food arrived promptly all at the same time, despite us being a large group. The bill came to almost £500 for 9 of us, so yes, it is on the pricey side, although for a special occasion I don’t think its too terrible. My main observations were that the starter portions were really small in some cases, whereas the main courses were over generous. In the future I would probably stick to my favourite starters and then dive straight into my mains, after all, there was still a lot left over at the end, and I hate wasting food! If you’re into a simple, high quality 21-day matured steak, I would head down to The Banc, just make sure you save some cash before you go!
Address: 261-263 WEST GREEN ROAD, LONDON, N15 3BH
Tel: 020 8888 8898