Needing to grab a quick but filling bite to eat before heading to the Playhouse for a show, my companion and I decided to visit Banana Tree on
We arrived in the early evening, so were seated quickly by the friendly staff. It being a very sunny day, we decided cocktails were in order, a choice helped by the fact that Banana Tree were running their regular Happy Hour, with a two-for-one offer on all cocktails on their menu. We chose the watermelon margarita - while it would have been nice to have the option of choosing different drinks as part of the two-for-one offer, the margarita was refreshing with a pleasant citrusy taste, the ideal drink for a warm day.
Turning to the menu, we found we had a wide range of options. Banana Tree caters for all tastes and dietary needs, and it was clear that the restaurant was making a particular effort to give a variety of choices to vegetarian and vegan customers, with the option to swap meat substitutes into many of the dishes. My friend chose the tamarind spicy aubergine with egg-fried rice, while I wanted to see Banana Tree's take on a favourite of mine, chicken Pad
The service was friendly, and our starter and cocktails arrived quickly (the tap water we'd also requested took a little longer to arrive, but this was a minor issue that our waitress soon resolved). The sweetcorn fritter balls were very moreish, with a pleasant crunchy texture - while there wasn't a large amount of sweetcorn apparent in the fritters, they were a great appetiser, and the dipping mayonnaise that came with them was delicious, with a savoury, spicy flavour.
Our main courses arrived soon after we'd finished our starter. My Pad Thai was in a semi-deconstructed form, with an instruction card that advised me to mix it together to get the best of all the flavours and textures - while this initially seemed a bit odd, this serving technique preserved the beansprouts' crunch. There was a generous amount of chicken and crushed peanut, and the dish was hearty and satisfying. My companion's tamarind aubergine was very rich, with a well-blended medley of flavours.
The atmosphere in Banana Tree was informal and friendly, with fun, vibrant decor (including several toy orangutans hanging from the ceiling). The staff were attentive, and the prices were very reasonable, coming to around £37 for two people - not bad for two courses and a couple of cocktails. If you're a fan of fresh, flavourful food with a kick of spice, and find yourself on