South-East Asian dinner at Banana Tree, West Hampstead

On Tuesday this week I ate at Banana Tree in West Hampstead. Aside from my overwhelming need for ANY dish made in a wok, we ate here because other restaurants had a long wait, and despite being busy, there was space to eat immediately at Banana Tree (my reading up on "experiences" to Ho Chi Minh drove the craving - advice on this city is welcome). Space was available not through lack of diners, but these guys are quick as lightening, churning people through like cattle (albeit happy cattle). Banana Tree is essentially good fast indo-food.
Banana Tree is a London chain that has a charity partnership with with the Orangutan Appeal (chains can be good…). Who wouldn’t want to save this little guy, WHILST eating pan-asian food, in West Hampstead…
banana tree west hampstead dinner restaurant
 The ginormous food offering comes from all over ‘Indo-China’ (that duo name truly covers their backs enabling them to serve almost anything…) – noodles/curry/dumplings, even prossecco. But hey it’s fun. The menu includes a special logo for the chef and founder’s recommendations. It was proving a similar but better version of my East Street experience.
banana tree west hampstead dinner restaurant
The vast menu…
Starters were plonked down within SIX minutes – that’s faster than KFC! I had prawn & pork dumplings to start which were DIVINE and very generous.
banana tree west hampstead dinner restaurant
Kau Chi Dumplings – Handmade pork & prawn dumpling with aged vinegar & garlic sauce
My little friend had Kajang Satay sauce with light Indo puff pastry chunks which was really interesting and delicious – nice adaption of a classic sauce with a Street Style Crispy Dough.
banana tree west hampstead dinner restaurant
A light and chewy Indochinese style dough served with the signature Kajang Satay sauce
banana tree west hampstead dinner restaurant
Cool staged interior with open windows, minimalistic design.
For main, my little friend chose Roasted Duck Breast with Pei Pa Hoisin Sauce from the regional specialty menu.  Really moist, good quality duck. Sauce quite sweet which wasn’t for me but he loved it. He had noodles to accompany it which were nice and light but quite plain but still a good accompaniment to the main.
banana tree west hampstead dinner restaurant
Roasted fillet of duck topped with our mildly spiced hoisin & sesame sauce served with cashews & coriander. Simply divine!
 I chose a curry recommended by the chef and founder (yes i’m a sucker for marketing)  from the Curry & Stew Section. The sauce was so rich and delicious. As a dish I really enjoyed it, but the beef was quite dry so by the end it did become a chore to chew, luckily i’m well practiced… Accompanied with jasmine rice, a shame that most of the rice went to waste – no one ever eats a bowl of rice the size of a rugby ball, when will kitchens learn!
banana tree west hampstead dinner restaurant
The Legendary Rendang Prime lean beef slow cooked for up to 4 hours until a thick dry fragrant sauce is achieved. A complex, rich and nutty curry with a coconut based sauce. Undisputed ‘King of Curries’.
 And to wash it down, we had a delicious prossecco ‘Champagne for students’!  Joking, I literally cannot get enough of prosecco. Any aged grape plus carbonation get’s a tick from me.
banana tree west hampstead dinner restaurant
Me head says go to the gym, my heart says drink more prossecco
 The meal came to £30 a head – which with a bottle of prosecco, a starter, main, and side is extremely reasonable (and we had the honour of dining in West Hampstead – Stephen Fry lives there, he’s a prossecco fiend too).
The restaurant was opened up with the option to dine outside (with a cover of course in case Stephen visits). The staff were polite & efficient – but nothing special. I don’t blame them with seven thousand people coming through the door each night…even on a Tuesday.
banana tree west hampstead dinner restaurant
Sit outside come rain or rain…
banana tree west hampstead dinner restaurant
The sunset from West Hampstead was a delight for my little male friend and I. Naturally…..we got our cameras out….
237-239 West End Lane NW6 1XN 

Square Meal

Banana Tree on Urbanspoon


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