The Banc Restaurant in Swansea bills itself as Swansea’s premier dining experience. The restaurant is situated in an old bank building and is run by husband and wife team John T Bailey (Chef) and Lee Bailey (front of house).
Mum, Dad, J and myself made the 40 minute drive from Bicheno on the second last night of our holidays. We were all looking forward to a nice meal out after quite a few BBQs.
Over summer The Banc has two seatings, one at 6pm, to be out by 8pm, and the second one starts at 8:15. Bookings are highly recommended and on the night we were there, the two waitresses were kept busy fielding phone calls and walk-in enquiries.
We were greeted by Lee when we arrived and given a choice of two tables, we chose one in the corner away from the door. It is only a small space, we counted 26 seats, and there is a private dining room as well.
Lee is accompanied by another waitress, and while they were both friendly and lovely, I did find them a bit distracted and flustered at times. I think a third person, even for a few hours a night when the place is full, maybe to do drinks orders, would be a good idea, especially when the private dining room is also occupied.
We started with a bottle of Louis Roederer champagne.
When we went to order, Mum asked if the flathead special could be done as an entree. Lee said she would check with the chef. Fair enough, but she went and checked and instead of coming straight back with an answer, and taking our order, she served two other tables instead.
She finally got back to us and we ordered.
For entree I had the confit of duck over asian salad, bean sprouts, coriander, chilli & soy dressing.
This dish was OK. There was a lot of salad and it was fresh, but I couldn’t eat it all. The duck lacked flavour.
Mum got her flathead, served with a piece of lemon only, just how she wanted it.
She was happy.
J had the white bait fritters with garlic chives, wasabi aioli and petite lemon salad.
He liked th dish but said there wasn’t a lot of white bait in the fritters.
Dad skipped entree, I think he was saving room for dessert.
For a main course, we all went with a steak. There was a choice of two: a dry aged grass fed black angus beef porterhouse (aged minimum 21 days) or a prime aged eye fillet. Both were served with roasted pinkeye potatoes and banc salad with balsamic dressing. There is also a choice of sauces; blue cheese mousse, portobello mushroom or four peppercorn, and also two mustards; hot english and dijon mustard, or horseradish or wasabi.
If I recall correctly, we all went for the eye fillet, except for Dad, who had the porterhouse.
I noticed mum’s eye fillet was two pieces, where J and I had one piece.
Having the sauce separate is great, but having the potatoes and salad in bowls was awkward. Both J and I tipped both onto our plates to make eating easier.
My steak was fine, nothing to rave about. J thought his was a bit overcooked. I will rave about the potatoes though, they were awesome and I could have had a bowl full (I guess, in theory, I did have a bowl full!).
Now, on the dessert menu, there was a dessert that was said to be for the chocolate lover; a chocolate cup filled with rich chocolate mousse and a chocolate sorbet. Everyone thought I would go for this, and normally I would, however, this dessert wasn’t calling to me. What was appealing to me was the choux buns filled with hazelnut cream patisserie and warm chocolate sauce, something different, but it still had an element of chocolate so I could get my fix. For those that don’t know, choux buns are another name for profiteroles.
They don’t look very pretty but I liked them. J and Mum both tried them and didn’t like them, but I was happy.
Mum and Dad both had the chocolate lover dessert and both liked it. I tried some of Mum’s and was glad I hadn’t ordered it. Not sure what was going on with my chocolate radar that night.
J had the The Banc cheese selection, which consisted of: Heidi Farm raclette (Tasmania), tallegio washed rind (Italy), shadows of blue (Victoria), handmade Denhay Farm cheddar (Devon, England), local Webster walnuts, sour dough bread and crisp wafers.
It was a generous plate, and the walnut opening implement caused much discussion (it does work, you just need to use it on the right point of the walnut).
It was a nice meal, but not great. Don’t go expecting Melbourne or Sydney standards, but if you are sick of pub food, BBQs and fish ‘n’ chips then it is worth a try.