I asked myself if food from sunnier climes could warm me up on a cold evening – and the answer was a satisfying yes.
Since moving away from the Falkirk district I visit my dear old mum on a Tuesday night and we usually go for dinner and a catch-up at a local eatery being the good son that I am.
Being a chorizo freak I chose the Spanish tapas restaurant La Banca in Falkirk for our weekly mother-son gathering and it lived up to the good things I’d heard.
It’s an imposing looking place from the outside with bright fairy lights in the massive windows within the classy red sandstone exterior.
It’s pretty huge inside too with expensive furniture. Obviously there’s a Spanish theme with lots of red, tiles and dimmed lighting. It’s very stylish and vibrant.
Colin and Lynsey Bayne, a brother and sister team from Denny, run the place and are very welcoming and efficient, as are the other staff. Lynsey’s Spanish, which she’s learned from one of the waiters, is very good too, well, for pronunciation of the dishes anyway.
As for the food, I love tapas. It gives you the chance to have a wee bit of everything and somehow opens everyone up to more conversation as you dive in to the food, although I am prone to inadvertently switching off when my mum gets going on occasion.
For starters we had the pan de barra – slices of fresh cut bread with olive oil and an alioli dip as well as cured meats with Spanish cheeses with a garlic dip.
I had the cheese, salsa dip, oil, cheeses and the meats, which included chorizo, all together on the bread and it was beautiful with loads of flavours. We both considered ordering more.
For the mains, I had the chorizo and paella tapas with chips (frites), while my mum had the house burger with chips. First of all the chips are amazing, really crisp and tasty and there’s a decent portion.
The chorizo – Spanish sausage sauteed in red wine and onion was delicious. The sauce is thick and the sausage is tender. The paella also has chunks of chorizo (told you I was a freak) with chicken and vegetables. It’s very tasty and filling.
For dessert I opted for the chocolate fudge cake with vanilla ice cream which was lovely and soft with a thick chocolate sauce. La Banca’s tapas dishes are also bigger than I’ve had at other establishments. Definitely a ray of sunshine on a cold night.
Vicar Street, Falkirk, FK1 1LL