Perhaps my second most frequented restaurant with a Tastecard is this gem – Banana Tree. They describe themselves as ‘Indochina Kitchen’ on their quirky website but to me they are a panasian restaurant. They have 8 branches across London and I have been to the Angel and Soho (closer to Oxford Street) branch.
Their decor is styled like a canteen, like Wagamama but more stylish and less clinical. The red lamp shades they have remind me of those lights you see in the Hong Kong markets which is probably the feeling they are trying to recreate – asian street food updated.
I would recommend going to the Angel branch rather than Soho if you can. Like most places in central, as it gets busy the food quality goes down even with the best intentions. Plus, if you would like to have a proper conversation where you can actually hear the other person, then definitely go to the Angel branch. No booking required, just show up with your Tastecard.
Now for the food! Below is a list of things I recommend trying (website description):
Street Style Crispy Dough
A light and chewy Indochinese style dough served with our signature Kajang Satay sauce
Prawn Cracker Basket
Prawn cracker basket served with sweet chilli dipping sauce
with Aromatic Caramel Sauce, herbs, and crispy shallots
Rice noodles wok fried in tamarind, palm sugar and fish sauce, with eggs, bean sprouts, peanuts & crispy shallots.
Coconut Stuffed Green Thai Pancakes
Banana Tree Combo
Combo up your main course with our Indo House Salad, sweet corn cakes, Indo Viet crackers, steamed jasmine rice. Just Available with any of our Regional specialties or Stir Fries.
I would like to apologise for my lack of pictures in this blog as my memory card broke in my phone. : ( Sad times. Yes I know I should have backed up.
Anyway, so the Aubergine Half is a must try in my opinion, full of flavour and very soft and appetising! The Crispy Dough is something you should try at least once as well as it is quite a traditional asian food that isn’t really served anywhere else outside of China Town (as far as I’m aware). Their Prawn Crackers are also not the same as your average take away prawn crackers. These are full of prawn flavour and spice!
I would recommend the Pad Thai (although not the best I’ve had but still very nice). I would also recommend any dish under the ‘Regional Speciailities & Curries’ section. The food from this restaurant is just packed with flavour and there is just so much character that you can not go wrong. I also recommend upgrading to a combo as for an additional £2 or so you get a lot of extras. Plus, with the curries and main, it does not come with rice so bear that in mind!
The Banana Frotiteroles is again a must try! It’s sooooo nice and soft. They get it just right at the Angel branch and again this isn’t the usual banana fritter you get at a take away, this has been made with a lot of care and love. I recommend the Green Thai Pancakes as again it’s something unusual and to any coconut lovers out there – it is packed full of it!
Drinks wise, I’ve tried the Raw Juices which were ok. I’ve tried the Jasmine Tea which I think is cute how they serve it to you in a tea pot even if it is just for one person. In my opinion, a tea pot is the only way to go for a proper brew. I’ve also tried the ‘Viet Cafe Noung’ which I would recommend to any coffee fanatic. Not much bigger than an espresso shot but it has been filtered in a vietnamese coffee contraption and served with condensed milk.
All in all, this restaurant comes highly recommended by me. The decor is great, the toilets (individual rooms) are clean and the food is FULL of flavour. Apologies for not having prices as these were not available on the website. With the use of a Tastecard, a three course meal plus a drink will set you back around £15 which almost never happens in London. If you don’t have a Tastecard, I still recommend going to this restaurant at least once.