August 2, 2010

Banana Leaf Asian Cafe

If you’re in the habit of taking a stroll in the restaurant rows of the numerous malls around the metro, you’ll notice that a good number of them are catering to a specific type of cuisine, most of which are Asian. Of course, Chinese restaurants dominate the gustatory landscape of Manila, just as Chinese goods are dominating the shopping landscape of just about every nook and cranny in the country. Coming in at a distant second are Thai dishes which many locals are starting to find grow fond of despite its spicy aftertaste. Dotting the rest of the dining areas are plates from neighboring Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, and even India.

Trying each and every menu that our neighbors in Southeast Asia have to offer may be a daunting (and expensive) task. Getting familiar with our local dishes alone can already be challenging. Heck, I can’t even remember the name of the last Filipino dish that I bought from a local eatery!

Having all the different menus in Southeast Asia brought and cooked in just one restaurant would definitely make our task of dipping our tongue around region easier. It’s therefore a delight to know that Banana Leaf Asian Café have all of these dishes in just one roof.

The Banana Leaf Asian Café’s branch that Gin and I went to for our usual Friday date was the one at Robinson’s Place Ermita. Most of the tables were already taken, but we were lucky to be seated at a cozy corner. The first thing that surprised me was the price. For a restaurant that made it to Philippine Tatler’s list of best restaurants in the Philippines, one would really be amazed to be able to order a dish that’s cheaper than a Big Mac meal. (Click here for Banana Leaf’s menu)

We ordered three of Banana Leaf’s bestsellers under the Appetizer section: Chicken Satay (P128), Deep Fried Pandan Chicken (P168), and Crispy Spring Rolls Thai Style (P118). Even though they’re denominated as “starters,” the dishes that we’ve ordered could already pass up for a main course. The serving was generous and unusually fast.

As expected and as attested to by Philippine Tatler, the food tasted great! Of the three, the Chicken Satay took my heart away. Gin picked the the Spring Rolls, but it didn’t get my mouth watering as it turned out that it was stuffed with veggies instead of meat! But it tasted good just the same. She was right on the Dalandan Juice, though, as it lived up to her billing as something that’s worth to try.

Overall, we were greatly satisfied with our time in Banana Leaf Asian Café. The food was great, and the ambiance was still cozy enough to warm our dinner date despite the fact that the place was almost packed. We give Banana Leaf a score of 8 out of 10 :)

The Scorecard:

Food: 8/10
Ambiance: 8/10
Value for money: 9/10
Service: 9/10
Cleanliness: 8/10
Toilet: N/A


Anonymous said...

Is there a difference between Banana Leaf and Banana Leaf Asian Cafe?

Chyng said...

i'll try this soon!
and i really hope di ako madisappoint sa char kway teow! ☼


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