Banana Tree’s delicious South East Asian menu was the creation of founder and head chef, William Chow. William gave up his architectural career to embark of his food journey twenty years ago, starting with a 36 seater oriental eatery in Maida Vale, and organically growing to a total of 7 restaurants in and around London and 1 in Milton Keynes. He has travelled extensively throughout the region to discover new additions to Banana Tree ever-evolving menu. What’s more in addition to serving great food, Banana Tree also is the charity partner of Orangutan Appeal UK and has it’s own ‘in-house’ chef training academy to ensure their high cooking standards are maintained.
SLOAN! Magazine was invited to review Banana Tree Battersea, which has been a locals’ favourite since its opening in 2001 and is situated a mere stone’s throw away from Clapham Junction. The restaurant is relaxed, buzzing and full of laughter, a place where guests can enjoy food, drinks and most importantly themselves on their night out or for an informal lunch. Although a great place for groups of friends and couples alike, with delicious Indochina inspired cocktails, it is also family friendly, with the children menu particularly popular on Sundays.
The menu here is based on the cuisine of the Indochina region in South East Asia that lies roughly east of India and south of China. It comprises of Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, countries that use common ingredients such as lemongrass, coconut, galangal, Thai basil and coriander in their cooking. These common ingredients allowed William Chow to design a revolutionary menu that offers homemade dishes such as Vietnamese Monks’ Spring Rolls and The Legendary Rendang on the same dining table as Lemongrass and Turmeric Stir Fry or Tamarind Crispy Fish with Thai Basil Glaze.
We arrived to a electric atmosphere, and a warm buzzy vibe. Banana Tree is the perfect place to take the family, meet friends or go on a first date and we couldn’t wait to sample the authentic menu. We were shown to our table and couldn’t resist one of Banana Tree’s cocktails. With so many to choose from it was a hard choice but in the end we decided on a Classic Mojito and Passion Fruit Cooler. What a lovely way to start our evening. If you’re a cocktail fan it is worth noting Banana Tree’s happy hour which runs from 12pm to 7pm where you can get buy one get one free on selected cocktails.
Our starters arrived quickly, we chose Kajang Satay Sticks, Double Cooked Crispy Pork and Sticky Thai Wings. The Kajang Satay Sticks are an authentic recipe straight from Kajang in Malaysia. These barbecued chicken sticks are interestingly served with palm leaf sticky rice and Banana Tree’s delicious secret peanut sauce the taste of which whisks you away to the far east.
The Double Cooked Crispy Pork beautifully paired with a mint, ginger and chilli dip.
The Sticky Thai Wings were some of the best we have tasted. The tamarind, garlic, sweet basil and chilli sauce set these wings apart from other wing dishes.
With so many lovely flavours tantalizing our taste buds we couldn’t wait for the main event. The Char Grilled Duck comes beautifully marinated and has a hint of five spice. The duck was soft and tender and has an authentic taste. With the char grilled meat you can spice it up with the grill combo which includes Aromatic Spiced Rice, Green Papaya Salad with Crushed Nuts and Viet Cracker.
The Legendary Rendang curry, again demonstrated Banana Tree’s authenticity. This famous speciality comes from the Minangkabau Hill Tribe of Indonesia and truly is smooth and creamy. The rich, nutty, and coconut flavours shine through in the texture of the sauce and can be accompanied by chicken or beef.
The curry dishes can also be enjoyed with the Banana Tree house combo which includes the Indo House Salad, Sweet Corn Cakes, Indo Viet Crackers and Aromatic Spiced Rice. We had some Sweet Corn Cakes with the main. They were well put together with carrot and spring onion adding to the flavour.
One last look at our main event before digging in.
When desserts are this good there is always room for a little more! We chose the Warm Chocolate Indo-Fondant with coconut ice cream and passion fruit seeds.
The Coconut Stuffed Green Thai Pancake is made green by extracts of coconut leaf and is packed full of coconut and nuts. Truly indulgent and a fitting end to an authentic experience.
The Banana Tree
75-79 Battersea Rise, SW11 1HN
020 7228 2828