This November Rocco Forte’s Hotel de Rome unveiled an entirely new restaurant and bar concept with a unique combination of indulgence, art and design. The new restaurant has been renamed La Banca, an allusion to the historic location of the current hotel on Bebelplatz, where the Dresdner Bank once had its headquarters from 1889 to 1945. The restaurant offers authentic Italian cuisine paired with cosmopolitan design including a revolving modern art exhibition reflecting the zeitgeist of Berlin.
La Banca’s new Italian cuisine is just as sophisticated and has been expertly developed in cooperation with Fulvio Pierangelini, Creative Director of Food at Rocco Forte Hotels. The star chef is renowned for his twice Michelin star restaurant “Il Gambero Rosso” in Tuscany. Together with Jörg Behrend, head chef at Hotel de Rome, he has helped create a brand new menu: whether it’s a new interpretation of spaghetti al pomodoro, “linguine con astice with lobster and tomato and basil bisque” or a “saddle of lamb grilled on a hot Himalayan salt stone”, the sophisticated dishes impress with their simplicity and natural, local ingredients.
In order to continue inspiring its art-loving guests, the five-star superior hotel used the renovation of the restaurant as an opportunity to place an even greater emphasis on art. The American artist Olivia Steel, who is represented by the Circle Culture Gallery, launches the new concept with her distinctive neon light works which can be seen in both the restaurant and the bar. Modern art is key to the new design concept and there are already plans to hold various temporary exhibitions from galleries in Berlin at the newly renovated La Banca. Works from national and international contemporary artists will be presented here in a perfect setting, thereby underlining the capital’s importance as a metropolis of the fine arts.
Olga Polizzi, Director of Design at Rocco Forte Hotels and sister of Sir Rocco Forte, has created a new, exclusive and contemporary interior for La Banca. The new restaurant and bar concept is full of exciting and creative contrasts, and as such pays homage to the special charm of the capital city. “Berlin is my favorite city, and, just like the city itself, Hotel de Rome continues to develop,” said Olga Polizzi as she explained her design concept.
La Banca, the new restaurant and bar concept at Hotel de Rome, was completely transformed in just three months with an investment of 500,000 euros.
The head chef at Hotel de Rome, Jörg Behrend, directs the new cuisine at La Banca in collaboration with Fulvio Piereangelini. Piereangelini is responsible for the culinary concept at Rocco Forte Hotels. He skillfully utilizes his 25 years of experience in the kitchen to give his own special twists to classic Italian dishes. “Even if the finished product doesn’t at first appear to be incredibly intricate, it takes a long time to master the preparation of simple dishes,” says Piereangelini when describing his own unique and unconventional style.
The cuisine created by Piereangelini and Behrend embodies natural ingredients, powerful flavors and perfect preparation. The dishes are characterized by simplicity and finely nuanced flavors.
Behrend pursues a sustainable sourcing strategy and sources most ingredients locally. The natural characteristics of the products are of major importance to him and he aims to bring out each and every nuance in the flavors. “An entirely new experience of Italian indulgence can be found at La Banca. Our authentic Italian cuisine remains in touch with its classical roots, yet also offers something new. Keeping in trend with the “all dining experience”, we offer our guests culinary delights and first-class expert service, no matter what time of day.
“We have given new meaning to the pleasure of dining in relaxed and sociable company”, says Hotel de Rome chef Jörg Behrend.
Dining together not only facilitates a feeling of well-being and promotes communication, it also makes for a lively experience. That’s why “sharing dishes” can now be ordered and shared between diners. Reflecting the well-known adage “you eat with your eyes”, restaurant manager Torsten Wirth and his team serve all dishes on new handcrafted porcelain which was carefully selected to match the interior design. The Craft range from Steelite in England emphasizes the stylistic individuality of the new restaurant.
Lucius von Berlepsch, the sommelier at La Banca, ensures you are served with the perfect wine for every meal. He makes his selection from a very generous wine cabinet which has been skillfully integrated into the restaurant interior. His selection of wines includes the most exquisite range of Italian products.
With the opening of La Banca, a brand new and trendy meeting place announces its arrival in the historic hotel building of this vibrant capital city. The open restaurant layout, with space for 120 diners, creates a relaxed atmosphere. The pretty hotel courtyard offers additional terrace space with 40 seats – a picturesque ambience in which to enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner during the summer months.
The transformation is characterized by high-quality wooden chairs and benches with fabric and leather covers in green, brown and grey earth tones which are in harmony with the natural stone floor. The customized lighting system adds a stylish emphasis. Alternating reflections provide a sense of dynamism, while striking wall and floor lamps complement this with a hint of retro flair.
Berlin’s history is reflected in a lighting focal point that has been positioned in the middle of the restaurant: two caryatids are lit from behind and visually represent the unification of old and new Berlin. The La Banca Bar offers a contrast within the timelessly elegant color scheme of grey, black and white in the form of an attention-grabbing curtain illuminated with neon colors. When the light starts to fade, both outside and inside, La Banca is transformed into a spacious and lively lounge with music from DJ Michael Adam or a live performance.
“Berlin is not formal and rigid, but rather relaxed and authentic. That’s exactly the message we want to give our guests at La Banca. Even though the restaurant is in a five-star hotel, you needn’t be afraid of dropping by. La Banca is a new place to meet in the city with strong influences from the art scene where guests can relax and casually meet up and enjoy the new concept,” is how Lydia Forte, Bar and Restaurant Development Manager at Rocco Forte Hotels and daughter of Sir Rocco Forte, describes the new restaurant.
The opening exhibition at La Banca is from the young American artist Olivia Steele. She is part of the repertoire of the well-known Circle Culture Gallery. This gallery was founded in 2007 by Johann Haehling von Lanzenauer and is recognized today as one of the most prestigious galleries for urban art in the world. Olivia Steele, who has adopted Berlin has her home town, has already gained great recognition in the art scene. Steele creates real flashes of illumination, promoting dialogue between her art and public space. Olivia compresses her personal impressions and views into statements in her work, thereby examining social relations in a critical light. She turns irony and spirituality into a commercial medium using her neon glass light creations and consistently provokes viewers, prompting them to reflect on hidden emotions and unpredictable powers. “It is a great honor for me to be able to exhibit my works of art at Hotel de Rome and that a time-honored tradition – the connection between luxury hotels and the art scene – is experiencing a comeback.
“I have a very fond memory of this hotel: I lived in Hotel de Rome for my first few years in Berlin, before I had my own home here. It is really great to be back here again and to give something back to the hotel. It was exciting to decorate a location such as La Banca with my neon light art. A symbiotic relationship is being created between design, visual arts and luxury hotels”.
The pulse of Berlin at La Banca
Every Rocco Forte Hotel has its very own unique and individual personality and reflects the authentic character of each city. All of the hotels are interesting places to visit in their own different ways. La Banca is Hotel de Rome’s interpretation of contemporary Berlin – the restaurant and bar are full of exciting contrasts which combine to create something truly magnificent.
La Banca Restaurant & Bar Opening Times
- Breakfast: Monday to Friday from 6.30 a.m. until 10.30 a.m.
- Weekends and bank holidays: Late-riser breakfast from 7.00 a.m. until 2.00 p.m.
- “Mezzogiorno” Business Lunch: Monday to Friday from 12.00 midday until 2.30 p.m. — includes two courses for €21 and three courses for €26 per person, with a selection of homemade breads with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, including a 0.5-litre bottle of mineral water and coffee with a petit four.
- Lunch & Dinner: Daily from 12.00 midday until 11.00 p.m.
- Snacks: 12.00 midday until 1.00 a.m.
- Aperitivo: Daily from 5.00 p.m. until 8.00 p.m.
Head chef: Jörg Behrend
Restaurant manager: Torsten Wirth
Sommelier: Lucius von Berlepsch
La Banca Restaurant & Bar
at Rocco Forte Hotel de Rome
T: +49 (0) 30 460 609 1201
F: +49 (0) 30 460 609 2000