Expect fresh flavour fusions at this casual eatery that serves dishes from the Indochina region of South East Asia.
This branch of the popular Banana Tree chain can be found a few minutes walk from Clapham Junction rail station. Large glass windows make up the whole front of the restaurant and inside it has a simple style with wooden tables and benches and green leafy plants for decoration.
Service is quick, polite and friendly, and the restaurant has a very calm and casual feel to it, which makes dining here a relaxing experience. Make sure to come early or get ready to queue, as it’s a popular place and people often line up outside the doors to get a seat.
Prepare to spend time perusing the menu as it boasts an extensive variety of intriguing dishes and concoctions. If you judge a restaurant by the prawn crackers it serves, then this one’s a winner with an authentic prawn flavour and a kick of spice - not a thin white take-away-style cracker in sight. They come in an assorted cracker basket (£3.20) with a choice of satay and chilli dipping sauces, with the satay in particular making for a great complement. Other starter options to kick start your meal include Malaysian laksa soup, Thai tamarind and garlic wings and kau chi dumplings made with pork and prawn and served with a zingy garlic and vinegar sauce. All are priced at between £4.20 and £6.20.
The menu is then divided into noodles, soups, regional specialities, curries and stews, and char-grilled meat - so plenty of options to tickle your fancy. The classic pad Thai is always a winner, here made with either chicken, mock duck, beef or prawn (£7.50-£8.50) with all options boasting sweet, tangy and nutty flavours. You can find other classic dishes too, including ayam kunyit chicken curry (a Malaysian yellow curry), gaeng keo whan (a green Thai curry) and gaeng phed Thai roast duck curry - all priced between £7.20 and £8.90.
For something different, you might like to try 'the legendary rendang' which combines stewed prime beef with a thick, coconut sauce. The beef resembles the tender texture of pulled pork, falling apart as you eat it, and the sauce has a distinctive rich and nutty taste. For fish lovers, there’s the seafood kari santan melayu made with tilapia fillets, fishcakes and king prawns in a Malaysian red curry sauce - this has a good dose of chilli with a great variety of fish flavours and textures.
Desserts in Asian restaurants can lack the thought and flavours of the mains, but this restaurant ticks all the pudding boxes, with a few real winners with which to finish off your meal. There are banana profiteroles with thick chocolate sauce, or rich, sweet barbecued banana, coconut stuffed green Thai pancakes or simple ice creams and sorbets. All are priced between £3.40 and £4.50.
Soft drink options go all out with a very good choice of mocktails, as well as thick raw juice drinks that will give you that feel-good health kick. There is also an extensive list of wines, alcoholic cocktails, spirits and bubbly if you're in the mood to celebrate.
The Last Word
This reliable branch of the popular chain is a vibrant little spot in which to tuck into some decent food in an informal atmosphere. Perfect for catching up with friends.