banca cafe – tuart hill
No smile. No hello. And a pointed finger. That’s how we were greeted and shown to our table. Last night, Jess and I got to experience the epitome of the reputed legendary bad service in Perth. As we winded our way around numerous tables, unescorted, to find our table, I wondered if the service would improve throughout the night. Answer: No. The waiters remained inconsistent and rude throughout the night.
As we took our seat and read through the tattered menus, water was served (probably the highlight of the service for the night – seriously) and we were left to our own tactics. I soon noticed a discrepancy with the level of service between tables. The tables of familiar and repeat customers are favoured and closely attended to, and I’m guessing that is how Banca gets rave reviews. For a suburban restaurant on a weeknight, they were doing roaring business.
My main of veal sausage stuffed gnocchi arrives first. It’s a generous serve of gnocchi. Initially when I ordered the gnocchi, I was wondering how exactly do you stuff a gnocchi? As I peeped at my dish, I thought the kitchen might have got my order wrong and served ravioli instead. As I forked the dish I realised it was indeed gnocchi, though not in its usual ridged dumpling style. The unusual gnocchi was good – the filling was good quality (though there is no discernible sausage taste whatsoever). However, the gnocchi dough was too spongy and was a tad overcooked. What saved the dish was the tomato sauce with mushrooms. The dark red sauce had the taste of well stewed vine ripened tomatoes and the mushrooms were juicy and more-ish. The more I ate the dish, the more I liked it.
Jess’ main of Thai chicken salad arrived and like the gnocchi, was a very generous serve. Slivers of cucumber and capsicum tossed with mung bean sprouts, lettuce and cubes of chicken it looked like posh diet food. Jess reviewed it as very good and tasting like an authentic Thai salad.
Our plates were cleared speedily. We got different waiters at all stages of the night, I don’t think we were attended to by the same waiter twice. Whilst clearing out plates, we were promised the menu so we could order coffee and cake. We sat there for a good 15 minutes wondering where the menus had disappeared to and when a waitress (a different person) noticed we were sitting with just drinks, she said incredulously “Haven’t you been served yet?!” She quickly whisked off to get us menus with no apology for her colleague’s forgetfulness.
Lovely, lovely semifreddo
We ordered the trio of desserts to share and when it arrived I think my eyes almost popped out of my head. The trio of desserts was extremely generous for its price ($13.50) and I was certainly expecting petite portions of dessert! As we now expected, the waitress plonked our dessert down without any explanation of what exactly was in front of us, so the following are rough guesses. We gluttonously worked our way around the plate. Starting off with the ‘italian christmas pudding’ which I reckon was a pannetone of some variation with custard. The spiced cake studded with raisins was pretty good, though a bit dry with a slight eggy taste, it’s an ideal substitute for stodgy christmas pudding. The tiramisu was pretty much soaked in espresso. Mostly sponge and not much mascarpone, the bottom of the tiramisu was floating in coffee – resulting in a soggy dessert that was half finished. My advice is not to order the trio of desserts but to order a single serve of semi freddo! The semi freddo was absolutely delicious. Creamy and soft, the nutty semi freddo was topped with a sweet raspberry coulis and was finished before it even had a chance to melt.
It appears Banca is well loved by the locals. The passing traffic of Wanneroo Road does provide some lights to look at and I’d imagine the al fresco seating on a warm night would be an attractive option. We paid the bill – the Entertainment Card provided a hefty discount – and as expected yet again, the guy at the till was the antithesis of warm.
I’m not sure if I would return to Banca again. The food is okay – I guess you could do worse for Italian food in Perth. My tastebuds were slightly turned off by the service. If anything, the kitchen is quick but unfortunately the highly inconsistent service lets the food down.
Up’s: Nice atmosphere, the open kitchen adds some excitement. Varied menu, mainly italian based but there are other options/cuisines too – generous serves.
Down’s: The cold, unapologetic service. Expect to get inconsistent and confused service.
Banca Cafe, 75 Wanneroo Road, Tuart Hill WA 6060
T: (08) 9344 7007
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