Part and parcel of a great eating experience is first finding out how to get there. Banana Leaf’s Trinoma Branch is that type of restaurant. Although it is part of the mall’s map, it takes a bit of guesswork to get there. Once you arrive at this cozy restaurant at the topmost terraces, you know in your heart that your search efforts have been well worth it.
The first thing I had noticed was the interiors. Clean, unpretentious, warm and welcoming. You could even opt for al fresco dining. It had none of the lavish, complicated and cold design concepts from restaurants serving Asian cuisines. It could be a perfect place to de-stress with family and friends as you enjoy freshly cooked healthy Asian meals.
Banana Leaf features food that seems to have come out from restaurants of popular international hotels. They offer a wide range of authentic Malaysian, Singaporean, Thai, Indonesian and Vietnamese dishes. So if you’re looking for some food adventures, you don’t need to travel far because Banana Leaf will take care of it. And to make the experience even better, eat your meals on sanitized banana leaves. FYI, that’s where the name Banana Leaf stemmed from. You could even eat with your bare hands, and simply relish the food + the experience.
I had a sample of the Roti Canai (a Malaysian specialty bread) dipped in either a choice of curry sauce or condensed milk was purely divine. The soft velvety bread had a melt-in-your-mouth goodness. Being a typical Filipino, I liked condensed milk better because with the curry sauce, I knew there’s that desire in me to look for rice to go with it. But dip it in any sauce you like and you’re sure to enjoy it. For me, this Roti Canai was definitely a must-come-back-for item on the menu.
We also tried Singapore’s Hainanese Chicken with its three sauces: ginger oil, chili paste and soy based. The meat was served fork-tender; it literally falls off the bones.
The Stir Fried Oat Prawns Singaporean style was bursting with aroma and flavors. I loved the blend of tastes and textures of this dish. If you are tired of the usual buttery prawn dishes, then this one’s perfect for you.
The Deep Fried Chicken Pandan was a revelation of sorts because of the colors of the leaves (not brown and wilted) and the brown color of the chicken. Served with sweet chili sauce—it’s quite flavorful and filling!
The Thai Green Curry Chicken was simply outstanding. Cooked in rich, thick, coconut milk and green curry served on a bed of sweet slices of eggplant was hands-down a best seller. While most curries are somewhat watery and predictably spicy, Banana Leaf’s take on chicken curry is prepared with just the right amount and consistency to the sauce. It is naturally sweet (because of the coconut milk) and spicy; this is so far the best green curry I have tasted so far.
The Pad Thai tastes just the way you’ll have them in Thailand. I instantly fell for Indonesia’s Sambal and Goreng the very minute it tickled my taste buds. Oh, and you should try the Tilapia with Assam Sambal Sauce—it’s definitely a treat! I’m sure it will remind you of our typical bagoong (shrimp) paste, only better and richer in both texture and flavor.
|Stir Fried Clams in Singaporean Chili Sauce|
|Kangkong in Sambal sauce.|
|Fried Tilapia in Sambal sauce|
|Tea Tarik and fresh buko (coconut) juice|
|Vietnamese Trung Yuen with condensed milk|
“We say that Banana Leaf’s authentic because the main ingredients that we have here are sourced from their country of origin and prepared by Asian chefs in all of our branches. Other restaurants will hire Asian chefs to standardized their menu but we at Banana Leaf make a big investment with our expat chefs who makes sure that every branch will give that unique South East Asian dining experience,” says Banana Leaf’s General Manager Mr. James Aguilar.
|Banana Leaf General manager, Mr. James Aguilar|
So it comes as no surprise that Banana Leaf has curved a niche in the market as it continues to make loyal customers and Filipino travelers to fall in love with traditional Asian food. Banana Leaf also managed to be on the Philippine Tatler’s Best Restaurants from 2004-2012—a feat for food establishments nowadays.
Indeed, dining at Banana Leaf will not only bring a delightful adventure for your taste buds but also a wonderful Asian dining experience. J
Banana Leaf branches are located at The Podium, Greenbelt 3, Trinoma and Ayala Center Cebu. For further information: log on to www.bananaleaf.com.ph
Security Blanket thanks Abbie Abadiez, Yani Metrado, Mr. James Aguilar and Banana Leaf.
Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this post. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.