La Banca is located in the heart of Lucan Village and is now under the new ownership of Keith Kenny. There have been a lot of changes here since Keith took over, and we were very impressed with the new décor and the menus.
On arrival we were presented with a board of homemade breads served with a selection of butter, pesto and tapenades while we worked our way through a selection of menus, including an early bird, with a shorter selection of the dishes also available on the a la carte. The early bird is available Sunday to Friday from 7-9pm and is priced at €22.95 for 3 courses, which is value for money in any context.
Daniel, the restaurant manager and right hand man presented us with a tray of all the fresh fish for the day, (it varies daily depending on what arrives in on the boat) a fabulous display of fresh cod, hake, salmon, and Dublin Bay prawns which all looked very tempting. Then there followed another tray with all the meats of the day ranging from fillet of beef, rib eye, pork chops and strip loin – everything presented can be cooked in what ever way you wish.
All the meat comes from the local butcher in the village, Niall Collins and the fish comes from John at Mc Allister’s, again just around the corner, traceability is of the upmost importance to the team.
As we browsed through the A la Carte menu, starters tempted us with martini prawns – fresh jumbo prawns in a martini & lemon sauce served with wild rocket; fried fresh white bait – cod, haddock & blossom coated in a crispy sesame crumb & served with paprika lemon dipping sauce; steamed fresh Irish mussels & clams served in a classic white wine & garlic sauce.
The main courses included a seafood spaghetti – fresh Irish seafood (mussels, clams, cod, salmon & prawns) cooked in a tomato lemon sauce and tossed with spaghetti; penne Diva is sliced breast chicken with chilli, coriander, diced beef tomato and onion served in creamy white wine sauce or classic spaghetti alle vongole, with fresh Galway clams sautéed in white wine, garlic and olive oil.There’s a choice of steaks, and Kilmore Quay scallops topped with white wine herb sauce appear, as do all the usual suspects under the Pizza heading.
The win elist is particularly good, not surprising really when you consider that Martina Delaney of L'Ecrivain and Sommerlier of the Year 2011 is respnsible for designing it. There are some very interesting choices, and the most expensive bottle still comes in under €35. That all wine list should be this well chosen.
After some indecision Fred decided on the minestrone soup made with organic seasonal vegetables and I had the fresh Irish crab claws lightly tossed with chilli & garlic and finished in a garlic cream sauce with fresh parsley. The crab claws were fresh and delicious - a tasty and light start to the evening.
For the main course I ordered the fresh cod served with prawns and homemade tagliatelle in an eradiate sauce while hubby opted for the rack of lamb with mint gravy, spring onion mash and seasonal vegetables and our daughter chose the cod, lightly crumbled with homemade chips. The mains kept up the standard, and the star here was the lamb. My fish was perfectly cooked, and the sauce just so, it was really only the seasonality of the hearty lamb in the winter cold made me fancy it. The staff was extremely child friendly, there’s a separate children’s menu and they offer to prepare anything off the main menu. A constant flow of juices to kept her happy, while we enjoyed a bottle of Austrian wine; not one I would have chosen, but a very good accompaniment, and a choice recommendation by Daniel.
To finish off the evening we shared orange & chocolate cheesecake and a latte while my daughter dug into a plate of death by chocolate and a cup of tea. All desserts are homemade in the kitchen; the selection is small but all freshly made that day.
With Keith Kenny (owner & chef) at the helm everything is run with precision and absolute attention to detail. Watch this space, I think you are about to hear a lot more of this name in the future. His passion and enthusiasm for what he does shows in every dish sent out from the kitchen.
**Downstairs in La Banca is The Cavern which hosts comedy club on a Thursday night and live music on a Friday & Saturday night, with a really fun cocktail list.
Follow La Banca on Facebook to see what is going on, and specially watch out for the cookery demonstrations with a lot of familiar faces like Derry Clarke, and of course the wine lady herself, Martina, all lending a helping hand… #