HomeReviews - UKBanana Tree (Pan-Asian) – Westbourne Green, London

Banana Tree (Pan-Asian) – Westbourne Green, London

HALAL STATUS Halal food menu (only branch with no pork) • Alcohol served

Banana Tree IndoChinese Halal Bayswater restaurant London

decor Banana Tree IndoChinese Halal Bayswater restaurant LondonBanana Tree is a reputable, pan-Asian brand whose nine branches, which serve Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian and Singaporean dishes, all cater for Halal chicken, duck and beef.

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”.

DRINKS

drink mocktails Banana Tree Indo-Chinese Halal Bayswater restaurant London

(Left-Right) Virgin Passionfruit Cooler, Virgin Pina Colada, Lychee & Lemongrass Cooler – £5.95 each

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!”

STARTERS

Banana Tree IndoChinese Halal Bayswater restaurant London

Steamed Chicken Dumplings in Fresh Herb Sauce – Chicken & vegetable dumplings served with vinegar, garlic & fresh herb sauce, £5.75

Banana Tree IndoChinese Halal Bayswater restaurant LondonWhat made these Steamed Chicken Dumplings rise above the ordinary was the strength and taste of the sauce they were served in.

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.

chicken wings Banana Tree IndoChinese Halal Bayswater restaurant London

Sticky Thai Wings – Marinated fried chicken wings tossed in our house special tamarind, garlic, sweet basil & chilli sauce, £6.45

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.

chicken satay Banana Tree IndoChinese Halal Bayswater restaurant London

Kajang Grilled Satay – 5 sticks £7.65 / 10 sticks £14.25

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.

SOUPY NOODLES

Curry Laksa Banana Tree IndoChinese Halal Bayswater restaurant London

The Banana Tree Laksa (Grilled Chicken and Prawns) – Rice noodles topped with a house special spiced coconut broth with aubergine, tofu & bean sprouts. Garnished with coriander & crispy shallots.

samba chilli sauce Banana Tree IndoChinese Halal Bayswater restaurant London

Samba Chilli Sauce if you prefer an extra kick!

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.

STIR FRIES

Stir Fry Banana Tree IndoChinese Halal Bayswater restaurant London

Chilli, Ginger & Basil (Beef) – Fresh & aromatic stir fry with broccoli, baby corn, peppers, cloud ear mushrooms, red onions & bamboo shoots in a Siamese yellow bean sauce. (Chicken/ Tofu/ Beef/ Prawns)

Banana Tree IndoChinese Halal Bayswater restaurant LondonOn the whole, an average dish which, as one of us put it, “You get this at a million other takeaways!”

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

duck Banana Tree IndoChinese Halal Bayswater restaurant London

Char Grilled Duck (Boneless Half Bird) – Marinated half duck, char grilled with a hint of 5 spice & served with chilli salsa, £16.95

duck Banana Tree IndoChinese Halal Bayswater restaurant LondonThis duck was presented in a way that’s seldom found at other restaurants that serve Halal duck, i.e. as a whole, rather than typically shredded or sliced.

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.

REGIONAL SPECIALITIES

Beef Rendang Banana Tree IndoChinese Halal Bayswater restaurant London

The Legendary Rendang (Beef) – A famous specialty from the Minangkabau Hill tribe of Indonesia. Toasted coconut based sauce which takes up to 4 hours to cook, £11.95

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.

WOK NOODLES

noodles Banana Tree IndoChinese Halal Bayswater restaurant London

Banana Tree Spiced Noodles – Vegetables, prawns, chicken, eggs & wheat noodles all wok tossed with a special spiced paste. Served with sweet corn cakes, £12.25

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.

DESSERTS

Frotiteroles dessert Banana Tree IndoChinese Halal Bayswater restaurant London

Banana Tree ‘Frotiteroles’ – Crispy nuggets of piping hot banana fritters topped with a chocolate & caramel sauce & served with melted vanilla ice cream, £5.85

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.

rice pudding dessert Banana Tree IndoChinese Halal Bayswater restaurant London

Balinese ‘Pulut Hitam’ Rice Pudding – Warm black wild rice pudding cooked with pandas leaves topped with melted coconut ice cream, £5.25

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.

THE ROAR
Banana Tree
3.5 FTL's Roar
4.5 Pride's Roar (2 Roars)
Alcohol/ Pork?
  • YES/ NO
FSA HYGIENE RATING
Last Checked: 28/03/18
Facilities
  • CHILD SEATING
  • DISABLED FACILITIES
  • DELIVEROO
  • UBER EATS
  • JINN
Summary
In our experience, Halal pan-Asian restaurants, particularly in London, can be a hit and miss affair. Banana Tree on the other hand is, relatively speaking, up there with the better ones we've reviewed.

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.

Menu Recommendation

Drink - Virgin Pina Colada

Starter - Sticky Thai Wings

Main - The Banana Tree Laksa

Dessert - Balinese ‘Pulut Hitam’ Rice Pudding

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ATMOSPHERE
SERVICE
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Banana Tree
21-23 Westbourne Grove, Westbourne Green, London W2 4UA.

T: +44 (0)20 7221 4085 | W: bananatree.co.uk | E: westbournegrove@bananatree.co.uk

Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 12:00-23:00 | Sun 12:00-22:30

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