Banana Tree (Pan-Asian) – Westbourne Green, LondonHALAL STATUS Halal food menu (only branch with no pork) • Alcohol served
Nevertheless, there’s only one that doesn’t have to deal with the issue of cross-contamination re its grilled dishes cooked on the same grill as the pork, and that’s the Westbourne Green branch, whose menu is pork-free.
This 96-cover restaurant is a brightly lit and spacious one, with black and cream minimalist decor that includes low-hanging lights, and peculiarly large, black hanging grills.
While alcohol is served at the venue, there isn’t any bar to speak of, making this a place to consider as “The Home of Indochinese Food”.
Standard presentation of mocktails and ones that varied in quality.
The best of the trio was, by quite a margin in fact, the Virgin Pina Colada wherein the pineapple leant a mellow fruity edge to what was otherwise a thick, creamy beverage.
The Lychee & Lemongrass Cooler came in next, with the lychee providing a good kick, albeit following a good stir, and the lemongrass nondescript.
As for the Virgin Passionfruit Cooler, then this was an insipid one, with the mint barely discernible, resulting in one Lion remarking: “£6 for something that tastes like cold squash!”
The dumplings themselves were decent enough without being anything outstanding.
And while the soft chicken filling matched the soft texture of the dumpling, it was the sweet-vinegary sauce, with the subtle flavour of the herb and a hint of heat chilli in the background, that made this bowl a satisfying eat.
When you’re presented with succulent Sticky Thai Wings that have a genuinely crispy-cum-crunchy exterior while being coated in a generous sweet-chilli marination, you really couldn’t ask for more.
But why so small? Such marination deserved far more meatier and leaner wings.
There was a slight disagreement about this Satay dish. While we all agreed that the chicken sticks were relatively small and a tad dry, they did have a nice springiness to them, while being marinated in a pleasant, light tangy marination.
The peanut butter sauce, though watery, was favoured by two Lions, but not the other, who believed it to be lacking in flavour.
This was the dish of the review, and a Laksa to which we can fully understand why the restaurant put its name to.
This generous bowl of coconut broth, which was mellow and soothing in taste, contained perfectly cooked pieces of chicken and prawns, al dente noodles, bean sprouts that provided that necessary crunch, and soft pieces of tofu.
Yet, while two Lions enjoyed The Banana Tree Laksa for what it was, the other preferred enhancing his with an extra kick of heat and spice via the addition of a few spoonfuls of the accompanying samba chilli sauce, smartly presented in a classic pickling jar.
Hence, though there was enough going on to keep one going, why this Chilli, Ginger & Basil stir fry was especially recommended, we have no idea.
With a watery base, it had an assortment of ingredients that guaranteed a variety of texture that included small pieces of soft and tender beef, tossed alongside baby sweetcorn, red peppers, discs of bamboo shoots, broccoli that assured some bite, and red onions.
Taste-wise, it had that familiar stir-fry combo of the sweet offset by a slightly spicy base.
CHAR GRILLED MEAT
As such, not only did it have an immediate mouth-watering impact, but had an attractive golden-brown skin that was perfectly crispy.
However, aside from it being slightly on the dry side, perhaps a fattier cut would also have been a better option.
And while it came with any absolutely delicious sweet-vinegary sauce that helped to somewhat remedy said dryness, we would have preferred more to properly saturate things.
This could have been far better than it was had the beef in this Rendang not been so very dry, charred and chalky.
The only redeeming factor here was the depth of flavour of its gently spiced, semi-dry curry sauce, that was flavourous and quite enjoyable.
This Banana Tree Spiced Noodles came with a pungently water sweet-fishy sauce, which ought to be tested for its strength before being added to taste.
Having said that though, despite the noodles being soft and tossed in a mildly sweet-spicy sauce, with slithers of carrot, red peppers and small chicken bits, this was an essentially bog standard dish that came with two subtly flavoured pakora sides – cripsy on the outside and soft on in – and a large, plain cracker.
These Banana Tree ‘Frotiteroles’ were decent enough, without being anything spectacular.
The profiteroles were fairly squidgy in texture, full of warm, cooked-down banana with a touch of a bite to them, while being drizzled in chocolate sauce and paired with a scoop of decent vanilla ice cream.
Not only did the contrasting colours make this an attractive dessert, visually-speaking, but the combination of the sticky, savoury black ice, and the positively delicious inhouse coconut ice cream, complete with some of that coconut flesh for texture, easily made this our choice of preference.
An awesome dish and a fitting finale to any spicy meal had beforehand.
- YES/ NO
- CHILD SEATING
- DISABLED FACILITIES
- UBER EATS
With an extensive menu, and looking past one poorly executed plate, the others varied between mostly good to averagely cooked dishes.
One aspect that really impressed us was the service, which was efficient, friendly and speedy.
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