Bancone, meaning ‘bar’ or ‘counter’ in Italian, is the latest dining concept on William IV Street in London’s cosmopolitan Covent Garden. Comprising three dining bars overlooking the open kitchen, here you can expect a menu of delicious pasta to be washed down with a glass of wine, finished with a smooth espresso.
All pastas are skilfully made in-house, fresh every day, and are the staple ingredient to the small but plentiful menu. Taking inspiration from Italy’s diverse regions, the result is a combination of traditional dishes alongside new creations which will send your taste buds on a gastronomic tour of the world’s favourite boot. We took five-minutes with William Ellner, founder and managing director of Bancone to talk food, restaurants and – of course – travel.
Tell us a little about yourself and your history in the restaurant industry?
I’ve worked in restaurants since I was 15. I’ve worked in bars too, and in 2003 I took over the family business, Joanna’s, in Crystal Palace. In 2016 I began to create the idea for Bancone and we opened our doors to our first site in Covent Garden in 2018.
What was the concept behind Bancone and why did you choose Covent Garden as your location?
We wanted to bring pasta into the everyday in a buzzy, central London space. I wanted to bring fine dining quality to the scale, pace and price of the casual dining market, which means our menu is full of flavour and expertise, but the dishes are affordable, and the experience can be as quick or as long as you wish.
Who would you describe as your typical customer?
Thanks to our location we have a really eclectic audience. We get Londoners, tourists, theatre-goers, foodies and shoppers. We host every occasion from first dates to wedding anniversaries.
You have a great team at Bancone. How did you find your staff and what was your criteria when hiring?
Recruitment is a rolling process. The main qualities we look for are a ‘can do’ attitude, great personality and a flair for flavour.
Now onto the food. What is Bancone’s signature dish?
Our ‘Silk Handkerchiefs with walnut butter and confit egg yolk’ is our surprise hit. We make around 200 portions of it per day. It’s great for social media as it’s a visually arresting dish. We love it!
What makes Bancone’s menu stand out from its competitors?
While the pasta itself is beautifully authentic, the dishes are twists on classics fit for a modern, well-travelled audience. You’ll find black truffle, next to goat’s cheese, next to confit egg yolks. It’s not traditional.
Bancone’s recipe is – of course – inspired by Italy. Where is your favourite region?
Bologna, without a doubt, it’s the food capital.
Do you have any Italy travel recommendations?
You can’t beat a few days in Capri. It’s the high life, you will eat and drink like a king and it’s absolutely beautiful.
And what about travel in general? Where do you like to holiday?
Anywhere that’s hot and isn’t too packed. I like to find places off the beaten track.
Where’s on your travel bucket list?
I’d love to go to Argentina. Specifically, Buenos Aires.
And finally, what’s next for Bancone?
Watch this space….
To make a reservation call 0207 240 8786 and for more information visit Bancone’s website here.