My visit to Banana Tree in Clapham kickstarted a particularly indulgent week for me. After a night of delicious IndoChinese cuisine in Banana Tree, I managed to fit in some pretty good South Korean food in Kimchee, followed by a super spicy Friday night Thai at the Pepper Tree – all within the space of a few days. It was like taking a culinary tour of South East Asia – all without having to leave London.
I was at Banana Tree with my lovely blogger friend Jen who owns the brilliant She Gets Around blog. We needed reasonably priced but tasty food and a great ambiance. Out of all the restaurants in Clapham, the fact that Jen was willing to go to Banana Tree after already eating there once that week was a good sign.
A detailed discussion of the menu and a nice chilled Asahi beer later and we settled on our orders. The staff aren’t overly attentive here but they did ask whether we’d visited before and were on hand to answer questions if we had any. Within around 15 minutes max, our starters arrived. I do love that about South East Asian food. There’s no messing around. Yet it still manages to look as lovely as this:
The double cooked crispy pork with Rau Ram mint, ginger and chilli dip was just as devine as it sounds. Soft yet crispy, every mouthful felt slightly sinful. And the fragrant contrast of the minty dip was just lovely. Oh my word, this was good.
I adored the whole ceremony of unravelling the cute little parcels of sticky steamed rice….
The satay was really good for satay standards (I’ve had a fair few). And I adored the whole ceremony of unravelling the cute little parcels of sticky steamed palm leaf rice. A lovely way to start our meal. And with pretty good portion size too, this was on its way to becoming a feast.
My dish that followed was crispy chicken with mango and sweet lime sauce. And after already devouring the double cooked pork and chicken satay starters, a big plate of crispy chicken and exceptionally sweet sauce was a little gluttonous of me.
‘…it took me back to beachside dining in Malaysia a few years back…’
But it was undeniably tasty and the Banana Tree special combo (steamed jasmine rice, spicy crackers, sweet corn cakes and a sesame glass noodle salad on the side) was brilliant. You get a tangy achar pickle on the side too. Admittedly, the sweet corn cakes were a bit dry for me, but the sesame glass noodle salad added a delightful crunchy treat on the side.
The lovely presentation took me back to beachside dining during a trip to Malaysia a few years back. Yes, we were surrounded by a rowdy lot of Claphamites, but you can pretend, right?
Oh, and if you order this dish, a 25p donation goes towards rehabilitating orphan orangutans in Borneo. What a fantastic idea.
Did I manage to finish it all? Not quite. But it’s that kind of food you can’t stop eating, so I did a pretty good job.
This is a lively place and at one point it felt like Jen and I were speaking REALLY loud to hear each other. But it all proves how popular and buzzy this place is. As diners were leaving, hoards more were spilling in.
I can’t fully remember what happened next, but I probably rolled out and plodded home before falling into a peaceful food coma.
With eight restaurants across London, you’re never too far from this bounty of flavours.
Until next time x