The Reverend Eats … Banana Tree in Angel
I walk past this place when I head home from work. Every time I do I think, “I must pop in there one day and try it out”. On a sunny Friday lunchtime I released I had enough time to head there and back in my lunch hour so I downed-tools in the office and headed over there.
A short walk from Angel tube station, the Banana Tree Islington is easy to get to if you are near the north-east of Zone 1. It is about 1km from Kings Cross and Old Street Stations but it would be a walk along a busy road so no shame in getting the bus.
Outside the Banana Tree
It does front onto a busy road but we are in London. It has big windows so you’ll be able to see how busy it is just by looking in.
Inside the Banana Tree
Once you get through the main doors the restaurant is split into two halves with a reception desk in the middle. I was quickly greeted by a member of staff and they took me off to a bench in the window. It was only me dining and there was plenty of room at my table for 2.
The setup of the restaurant is quite ‘rustic’ with wood and stone making the main theme of the furniture. It has a number of very large tables which aren’t clear if they are used only for large groups or for the modern ‘social dining’ where you are seated with other people.
They do offer a full menu during the day. I looked over this and decided I fancied some of the chicken wings, because I DO LOVE CHICKEN WINGS! I also love Pad Thai and this was on the menu so I was having it.
Nestled with the full menu was the lunch-time special menu. Valid only during lunch, it gave two courses for for £10.95. They refer to it as their ‘Quick Lunch Bowls’ and although it gave lots of options, it had exactly what I was after – chicken wings and Pad Thai! Winner Winner Chicken (Lunch) Dinner.
There was an offer of two 4 one on the cocktails that I’d have love to have taken but it was my work lunch hour and I couldn’t risk being ‘well lubricated’ for lunch. Tap water and a glass of coke for me then.
Its all about the chicken wings. However this was not what happened. What actually happened was they brought out the Pad Thai and then told me that the wings would come later. This is the first time this has happened to me anywhere! I’ve had everything brought out together but never Main Course THEN Starter! Regardless of this irregularity, I’ll give my opinion on the wings.
There were 8 half-wings in the portion. A good sign as sometimes for lunchtime specials they reduce the amount of food they give you. (I *think* at Frankie and Benny’s they once served THREE half-wings when you ordered the lunch special). I wasn’t sure what flavour the ‘Thai Sticky Wings’ would be but I needn’t be concerned as they tasted amazing – not too spicy, enough meat on the wings and the sauce wasn’t actually that sticky.
If there was any negative on the starter then it would be that the side-salad. Compared to the chicken wings it did appear to be an after-thought. Maybe it was the delay in getting it out to me but I would have thought the salad could have been a bit bigger.
The Mains Event
So the first plate delivered was the main course. The Chicken Pai Thai came out very quickly but it is fast to cook so to be expected – the fact it is on their ‘quick bowls’ menu should have also been the clue it wouldn’t be hanging about.
When it was delivered to the table two things stood out. Firstly, it came with some thai prawn crackers. I do love a prawn cracker so it was greatly appreciated. The second thing is that the pad thai came with a card of instruction! It was a nice touch but who wants a card shoved into their lunch? Not me, thats for sure.
The Pad Thai was tasty and came with a wedge of lime. Usually I’d not point this out but I’ve recently had a Pad Thai that came with lemon and one delivered without any citrus at all. It managed to taste fresh and even though I waited for my wings to arrive and ate them before I started the Pad Thai, it was still warm.
Also in its favour is that there was plenty of it so I don’t think The Banana Tree was giving small portions for its lunch deal.
Two courses and a coke was £14.45, excluding a tip. I certainly felt that was a bargain for what I ordered. Normally you might expect to pay £6+ for the starter and £12-15 for the main course. Then a coke could be £3+. This it Islington in London. I feel I saved about £10 on the meal and the quality wasn’t sacrificed at all.
The Reverend’s Final Thought
If you are in north London and you fancy some pan-asian food then you can head to Banana Tree for some good food. If you are there at lunch time then you’ll get a meal which is very reasonably priced and if, unlike me, you are with someone else AND don’t have to go back work, you can also get BOGOF cocktails!
If you don’t fancy Pan-Asian the area around Angel has plenty of other food places but I certain can recommend the Banana Tree.