I've been to Banana Leaf twice previously, the first was more than a decade ago when it was newly opened, and I must say I was impressed. The next visit was only recent, and I wrote about it here. For this month I've been there twice, and call it serendipity, but the meals we ordered worked well together that I'm kicking myself for not dropping by the restaurant more.
Combo 1: Chicken Satay + Stir-Fried Malay Noble Leaves with Garlic + Penang Fried Rice with Salted Fish and Chicken
|Chicken Satay (P138)|
|Stir Fried Malay Noble Leaves (188)|
|Penang Fried Rice (P188)|
I let my friend do the ordering when we met in the Greenbelt 3 branch. I love the honey-sweetened Chicken Satay (satay is skewered grilled meat)--juicy and perfect with the peanut sauce. The garlicky greens went well with the chicken and fried rice. The other choice was Kangkong in Sambal Sauce, but I thought we need something different this time. I was intrigued--what are noble leaves? They sure are tasty. The fried rice had just enough saltiness and was full of chicken bits. The combination was well-balanced, and we capped it with creamy Thai iced tea. Note: sweet counteracts spicy, so have a sugary drink if you think you're not sure if you can handle spicy food.
Combo 2: Malayan Beef Curry with Potatoes + Japanese Eel Fried Rice
|Malayan Beef Curry (288)|
|Japanese Eel Fried Rice (P188)|
The next day I went back (in the name of research, just to make sure the other day was not a fluke), this time in the Robinson's Place Ermita Branch. I ordered Malayan Beef Curry and Japanese Eel Fried Rice. I thought the flavors would clash but they melded well together. Imagine soft beef in creamy curry and lovely Japanese eel fried rice. It was a heady and tasty combo, indeed a very satisfying meal. The server was right--they do good curry. I thought the curry was not spicy enough, but a few minutes later small spice bombs detonated in my mouth. It was also much later did I sense the umami goodness of the eel. The rice did not overpower the curry, allowing the latter to shine through. I ended up mixing the curry in the rice.
Banana Leaf Asian Cafe
#213 Level 2 Greenbelt 3 Mall
Ayala Center Makati
(+63) 02 729-3333
188-189 Level 1 Robinson's Place
Midtown, Ermita, Manila
(+63) 02 567-1888