Monday, July 20, 2015

Banana Leaf Robson looks better in ad copy

Click to add a blog post for Banana Leaf on Zomato After my last experience at Banana Leaf (on Broadway) I was pretty sure I didn't want to go back to any Banana Leaf. But it was my friend's birthday and her pick, so... back to Banana Leaf. This time on Robson.

TIP: DO NOT BRING CAKE. Not only is Banana Leaf unable to help your birthday celebration with anything birthday-like, but you will be charged a "cakeage" fee ($5 per person??) if you bring and serve cake.

Large restaurant with an upstairs for larger groups and ground floor outdoors eating. If yours is the only party left upstairs AND you have already paid, expect it to be abandoned while they focus on their walk-ins downstairs.
Even if you haven't or aren't the only party there, bussing was also only OK. Empty dishes removed but maybe just one refill of water.

Unless you have an extremely sensitive palate, ignore the chilli symbol next to the menu items. It is nonsense. Even the Rendang Beef Curry wasn't spicy-hot.

Prices are pretty high. If you are not ordering a noodle or rice dish, you can still make an order into a filling meal by getting a bowl of rice ($2+). Consider getting one of the tasting menus, which has added value simply for letting you try more stuff.

Peppercorn BC Oysters ($10)
  • I passed on ordering this when the waitress told me this would be THREE oysters. That's over $3 per oyster!
Eggplant Fries ($7) julienned Chinese eggplant fries drizzled with Thai Chili sauce
  • Eggplant lightly coated in batter and deep fried.
  • Did NOT come nicely stacked as in the picture.
  • Maybe the same amount of fries you get in an order of McDonalds fries.
Rendang Beef Curry ($16) boneless, lean beef stewed in spicy coconut gravy
  • Meat not tender, but not really too tough either.
  • Where's the spiciness?
  • Underlying flavour of beef rendang is correct, but still missing the richness from stronger spices, and therefore disappointing.
Sambal Tiger Prawns ($17) shell-off tiger prawns cooked in a classic Malay spicy robust sauce made with chilli, garlic, lemongrass, and dried shrimp paste (belachan)
  • Where's the spiciness?
  • Sauce really tasty. Try not to waste this -- maybe mix in some rice to get all of it.
  • Maybe six prawns in total. Decent size but not jumbo by any means.
Hainan Chicken ($18 for half chicken) poached chicken served cold with cucumber, sesame oil, peanuts, and soy sauce. Served with sides of ginger sauce and chili-garlic sauce.
  • I have never seen Hainanese chicken swimming in some BLACK soup.
  • Missing the iconic chicken broth, therefore a complete waste of time.
  • Portion is like maybe a chicken breast for the "half chicken" portion. Pretty small for $18 especially when it basically comes with no sides.
  • Hainan Rice (cooked with ginger garlic with chicken broth) is on the "Recommended Sides" list at $2.50. Was NOT mentioned by server when ordering the Hainan Chicken.
Pineapple Fried Rice ($16) fried rice mixed with seafood, chicken, egg, onion, beans, tomatoes, raisin, corn, and pumpkin seeds
  • Rather smallish portion.
  • One-fifth (1/5) of a pineapple was on the plate, instead of the half pineapple in the menu picture. BUT since the pineapple would have been hollowed out for the rice anyway, it is not necessarily the case that they skimped on pineapple.
  • No way there was 1/2 or even 1/5th of a pineapple in the portion of rice, which was maybe 4 bowls worth (?).
  • Very strangely deep green pancakes rolled up into small spring rolls, containing a very sweet sugar-and-coconut mix, and sitting in some sort of white sauce.
  • Tasty. Pandan and coconut and sugar flavours all come through.
  • Very sweet, maybe excessively so.
  • TIP: Isolate just the pancake and taste that. It is strangely tasteless. Yes, tasteless. Not even any pandan or egg or pancake flavour. (Why?)
Jamu-Kunyit ($6) turmeric, tamarind, and ginger drink
  • If this tastes like medicine, it is because it is a sort of traditional herbal medicine.
  • Bitter but saved by some sweetness and sourness (but not too much).
  • Probably an acquired taste, so either know what it is or just be adventurous.
TIP: Bill apparently always reads "Gratuity not included", when it IS INCLUDED if you have a party of 6+ persons.

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