I called in to la Banca in Lucan, just outside Dublin, this evening for an impromptu meal with a friend. It looked lovely with a great interior that is both chic and inviting.

I order a steak salad and my friend orders pan-fried chicken. Oh, and my friend would like a cappucino before the meal. “Before? That’s coffee you know!”…  well, fancy that!  But they don’t have decaff of any description (I wanted a decaff Americano).

The first thing I try is my chips. Uh oh. They taste like they’re from next door’s takeaway, reheated from yesterday: i.e. soggy with a flavour of stale oil.

Do they *look* like good chips?

Well do they look like good chips?

However, my steak is surprisingly good (well surprising after that first chip), nicely rare as ordered and very succulent, and there’s plenty of it too, but there’s a peculiar drizzle on it. It looks like it ought to be balsamic vinegar, but there’s something distinctly soy-saucish about it. Would you dilute balsamic vineger with soy sauce? Not if it’s a good one, surely, and why bother if it’s a cheap one?  But the rocket is nice, fresh enough, if a bit sparse: it is garnished with a grand total of twelve small rocket leaves. Not much for a salad really, is it?

Steak \

Steak “salad”

I don’t know about you, but when I think of a steak salad I think of something like this:

or this…

My friend’s chicken arrives in a cheese sauce which was not mentioned on the menu. She doesn’t want a cheese sauce, or any kind of sauce for that matter, but she’s hungry so she eats it (like I do with the chips — I did actually eat some most of them). The chicken is gloopy she says. Gloopy? Well soggy then. Hmm. She says ‘and I bet the cheese sauce is made from two Easy Singles’. I bet it isn’t, but if it tastes like it, well…

She orders veg with hers, and these include green beans. Now maybe I’m wrong, but aren’t you meant to string them before cooking?

Stringy bits

Stringy bits

When asked if everything was all right (not, ‘did you enjoy your meal?’) we did, er, give our opinions, or at least the polite versions, but the server could not have been less interested. She was spectacularly uninterested, visibly regretted asking, and offered no comment.  Except to say, when challenged about the cheese sauce, ‘oh well the chef must have just felt like adding it’. Huh? What if you don’t eat dairy? Maybe it had to be used up. Like my chips.

The total bill, for one cappucino and two main courses was €44.  Way too pricey for the quality and I certainly won’t be back there again.