Islington’s Banana Tree Canteen – Where overwrought flavours mug unsuspecting diners

by timchester

I liked the Banana Tree Canteen, I really did. Doesn’t mean to say it was anywhere near very good, but I liked it all the same. Their MO – blandified pan-Asian food at honest prices, trestle table dining, and quickfire service – is fair enough I suppose. There’s a demand for that kind of thing from semi-adventurous diners all over London and if you can get it right there’s money to be made. The owners of Wagamama will testify to that.

The problem is, the fledgling Banana Tree Canteen (four branches, two in construction) just isn’t very good at it. It’s all over the place, literally and metaphorically. Food comes from Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia, via the prism of a Western palate and through a massively overworked kitchen. Cheap and cheerful décor favours the former half of the phrase much more (‘toilet’ signs on A4 paper, toilets themselves that give off an NHS feel) while the website’s ‘ambience’ section features a rotating selection of images intended to convey conviviality but that depict a guy seemingly about to slap his wife in one shot. The menu feels embarrassed to make any tangible claims, as if it knows the hustle they’ve got going on. Words like ‘pho’ come wrapped in quotation marks while their regional specialities are described as “authentic-style”.

Banana Tree Tofu

What hits you most, though, is the unashamed and unnecessary power of the flavours. Subtlety is chased off down the road with a massive stick at the Banana Tree Canteen, so both crispy tofu with nutty chilli and coriander salsa and aubergine with aromatic caramel sauce from the Let’s Begin! section smacked us upside the head with the kind of intense kick normally reserved for kids’ food. If that aromatic caramel sauce had made it to a McFlurry tasting session Ronald himself would have dismissed it as too potent. The aubergine never stood a chance. Gado-gado salad with satay sauce, meanwhile, was a lake of peanut purée with a few desperate strands of greenery waving for help from the gloop.

We skipped the opportunity to order unspecified “char grilled meat” and went for chilli pork and chicken bakar jawa, in my case accompanied with the £2.95 supplement special (not sufficient to share in a group, we were warned), a plateful of sesame glass noodle salad, sweet corn cakes (which were more like onion bhajis in their construction), prawn crackers and jasmine rice. The menu promised “yum!” and it was yum enough, especially for three quid. The pork, meanwhile, was a decent enough cut cooked about right, if smothered in comedic amounts of sauce once again.

Banana Tree Pork 2

The BTC is fine. If you want to spend fifteen-odd quid, feel like you’ve been dragged backwards through Asia in 30 minutes and leave with your jaw fused together by a variety of cloying concoctions, I’d suggest popping in.

Price per head: £18
Soundtrack: Generic background tunes
Clientele: North Londoners on their way somewhere else and a fearfully large amount of people dining solo.
Website


Banana Tree on Urbanspoon

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Christian Banks August 22, 2011 at 9:06 am

Really? I have been going there for years now with mates and family and we love it? I personally have travelled across South-East Asia (the region where the food comes from) and I can honestly say that it comes very close to those flavours (obv not as spicy) – I’m not saying it is the best of the best, but I don’t agree to “blandified”. I wouldn’t knock it till you try it people! – especially their Chicken Laksa! (now that is definitely “YUM!”)

Reply

timchester August 22, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Fair enough. Thanks for feedback Christian.

Reply

ギリシャ 神 名前 October 16, 2013 at 8:57 am

トリーバーチ 値段

Reply

zhunrize review May 3, 2014 at 10:03 am

Fascinating blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from
somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple tweeks would really
make my blog stand out. Please let me know where you got your design.

With thanks

Reply

kelowna search engine optimization July 28, 2014 at 5:48 am

Allow me to cite three bad web design ideas that most websites commonly
(and unwittingly) use:Using unconventional letter cases is
excusable when you’re engaging in casual conversations over the
web (through email, chat or social bookmarking). You might opt
for customized packages to complement your existing networking capabilities.
Merely submitting your blog post to search engines isn’t an SEO strategy and will
not get people results.

Reply

cadouri pentru el August 7, 2014 at 3:57 am

One other gift basket variation would be a “sexy” gift basket loaded with eatable lotions, a bottle of champagne and naughty
games or perhaps toys. Buying from an online wine retailer will mean that you can complete your gift
shopping in the cosy surroundings of your own home without the hustle and bustle of supermarket
trolleys, Christmas Shoppers and pushy sales assistants.
A susceptible gift can give you your desired aspirations or
even more.

Reply

plus.google.com August 8, 2014 at 2:06 am

You can determine how long to keep in a spot you like. Conventional
travel agencies still command a large portion of
the travel booking industry. Being a home-based travel agent means
making available travel products produced by someone else.

Reply

indiankanoon.org August 8, 2014 at 5:02 pm

On the other hand, if you’re going to be stuck in your room for hours on end,
you might want something a little classier. Travel photography does not universally mean locations that are far away from you because that
is a relative term to an international audience. If you do
not require a rental, a really good agent will make sure there are shuttles to and from your hotel before reserving
a room.

Reply

electronic cigarette information August 10, 2014 at 6:31 pm

This characteristic makes sure that the vapor does not linger on and
so it does not cause symptoms like cough or eye burn or such immediate
reactions to smoke. For each of the top ten brands, the site offers complete information, including coupons and
promotions wherever offered to their visitors. Users usually can adapt to the pros and cons of each type and
take the necessary care needed to prevent frying
their electronic cigarette batteries.

Reply

Bathmate Water-Based Enhancement Pump August 13, 2014 at 3:20 am

Using this method runs the risk of tearing blood vessels and loosing sensitivity in the penis
and could lead to erectile dysfunction. In such a surgery, the advantage is that there is no outward sign of a surgery, and there are no
implants inside the penis. Some men who suffer from impotence use
the penis pump to get an erection by placing a compression ring at the base of the penis and use the vacuum pump.

Reply

google advertising tools August 19, 2014 at 1:40 am

Hello! I know this is kinda off topic but I was
wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my
comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one?
Thanks a lot!

Reply

sonic dash cheats August 26, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Release Sonic’s outstanding rush transfer that allows you ruin anything within your journey and to manage at speeds that are outrageous!

Reply

dmcommunityjazzcenter.org August 31, 2014 at 3:36 pm

I do not know if it’s just me or if perhaps everyone
else experiencing issues with your blog. It appears as though
some of the written text within your content are running off the screen. Can someone else please provide
feedback and let me know if this is happening to them as well?
This might be a issue with my internet browser because I’ve had this happen before.
Appreciate it

Reply

Kathlene September 6, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Undeniably consider that which you stated.
Your favourite reason appeared to be at the internet the simplest factor to understand of.

I say to you, I certainly get annoyed at the same time as other people consider issues that they plainly do not realize about.
You managed to hit the nail upon the highest and also outlined out the entire thing with no need side-effects , other people can take a signal.

Will likely be again to get more. Thank you

Reply

Ulysses September 7, 2014 at 12:37 am

I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was
curious what all is required to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
I’m not very web savvy so I’m not 100% sure.
Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you

Reply

catered corporate meetings September 13, 2014 at 8:54 pm

Do you have a spam issue on this site; I also am a blogger, and I was curious about your situation; we have created some nice
methods and we are looking to trade techniques with
other folks, please shoot me an email if interested.

Reply

Peggy September 14, 2014 at 8:53 am

For now, the services provided by Caviar
will remain separate. Paul Business Journal
list of advertising agencies, click here (.
‘Minneapolis is known as a hotbed of creative talent and many of the best advertising campaigns have
originated at an ad agency here,’ said Christine Kropp,
Bluewater CEO.

Reply

casinopanatet.webnode.com September 15, 2014 at 4:41 pm

I enjoy, cause I found exactly what I used
to be looking for. You have ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God
Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

Reply

cna training bradenton fl September 16, 2014 at 6:30 am

Whatever the case, cost should never be weighed against what
you intend to benefit in the long run. Nursing aides
are also given necessary time to focus better on their jobs
and responsibilities through these training programs.
They could be on offer at private hospitals, on-going
care organisations and various other wellness establishments.

Reply

скачать чит для игр на андроид September 20, 2014 at 12:03 pm

I am truly delighted to read this website posts which
consists of lots of valuable information, thanks for providing these statistics.

Reply

the simpsons Tapped out cheats September 23, 2014 at 5:45 pm

I am now not certain the place you are getting your info, but good topic.
I needs to spend a while studying more or figuring out more.
Thanks for magnificent info I was on the lookout for this info
for my mission.

Reply

Elida September 24, 2014 at 11:39 am

Remembering to be strong for the patient’s family is very important.
You probably didn’t know, but the American Red Cross has provided nursing assistant training classes for more than two decades.

You can check with the licensing authority of the respective state for the CNA certification renewal steps.

Reply

http://imgur.com/AC3zDr9 September 27, 2014 at 5:13 am

Keep your eyes open for free or low cost events in the community and spend
only when you must. In essence, you need to create a “containment area” for the job.

It will breed mosquitoes and keep the planting medium too wet.

Reply

Milan October 9, 2014 at 2:35 am

It’s remarkable to pay a quick visit this web page and reading the views
of all friends about this post, while I am also keen of getting knowledge.

Reply

Bennie October 11, 2014 at 7:39 pm

This site certainly has all of the information I needed concerning this subject and didn’t know
who to ask.

Reply

Jodi October 14, 2014 at 5:52 pm

Undeniably believe that that you said. Your favorite reason seemed to be on the internet the easiest thing to take into accout of.
I say to you, I certainly get irked at the same time as folks consider worries that
they plainly don’t recognize about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the entire thing
without having side effect , other folks could take a signal.
Will probably be again to get more. Thank you

Reply

FISIATRAS EN PUERTO RICO October 17, 2014 at 10:34 pm

I drop a leave a response when I like a article on a website or I have something to valuable to contribute to the conversation.
It is a result of the sincerness displayed in the post I read.
And on this article Islington

Reply

Stephania October 22, 2014 at 1:42 am

First off I want to say fantastic blog! I had a quick question which I’d
like to ask if you don’t mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your
mind prior to writing. I’ve had difficulty clearing my thoughts
in getting my thoughts out there. I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like
the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas
or tips? Kudos!

Reply

Almeda November 25, 2014 at 1:45 am

For latest news you have to pay a visit the web and on the web
I found this site as a finest web site for newest updates.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post: Burger Monday – A New Weekly Way To Worship The Burger

Next post: Dean Street Townhouse And The Best Sunday Roasts In London