Banana Leaf is considered to be one of the top restaurants in the Philippines from 2009-20111. They have a few branches, but The Podium branch is said to be the best.
A favorite of most people when they come to Banana Leaf is the Roti Canai. Add another 30 bucks, you can pair it with Curry Sauce (P30.00 or $0.65) or Condensed Milk (P30.00 or $0.65) or you can get both. I’d suggest leaving the curry sauce behind since you will probably order a curry dish anyway. Use that sauce instead. Condensed milk sounds weird, but it works well.
We ordered a Murtabak, which is a stuffed pancake or pan-fried bread. Wasn’t bad, but not mind blowing shit either.
The Chicken Satay was better than expected. I would have to guess it’s because they use chicken meat with fat and skin, which had more flavor. Sauce was good.
The Nasi Goreng was really good. Had a little bit of spicy kick to it, but I honestly couldn’t get enough of this. And I’ve been on record about how much I love a good rice dish.
For the milder folks, the Steamed Hainanese Rice is a good way to go. Just 5 bucks more expensive than the plain white rice, I suggest you go for this chicken-flavored rice goodness.
The Penang Char Kway Teow is a noodle dish that’s eerily similar to the Chinese hofan. Quite surprising, though, that a dish that has a base of soy sauce would be so bland. It’s a typical hawker dish in Singapore and Malaysia, but I’d skip it in this case2.
For the Phad Thai lovers, you have 2 options. The Phad Thai Banana Leaf Style, which is the Filipino-friendly variety (sweeter and no heat) or the Phad Thai Thai Style, which is on the spicy side. Call this bland noodle place because none were distinguishing. I hated the sweet variety and the spicy variety wasn’t spicy. Do the math.
Now the Stir Fried Clams in Singaporean Chili Sauce is what might make me come back to Banana Leaf! There was still a problem though. The clams were closed, which means one of two things: (1) rotten clams or (2) uncooked clams. Both big problems, but the sauce itself was good enough to risk getting sick.
The Malayan Chicken Curry with Potatoes was nothing special IMHO. The barely-there chicken pieces are to be expected. The potatoes were nice. The sauce should be the differentiator and I think it fell short a bit. Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t bad at all. But there are definitely better ones out there (a LOT better) whether it be Indian curry or Thai curry. Order this instead of paying the additional 30 bucks for your Roti Canai, by the way.
The Deep Fried Pandan Chicken is usually a meal in itself, but it’s listed in the Appetizer section. Skip this.
I’ve always hated corny dish names and the Stir Fried Malaysian Noble Leaves with Garlic certainly qualifies. Tastes much like how grass smells. I’m still undecided if that’s a good thing or not.
Now the drinks is something I’d avoid all together. I mean seriously. Do not even look at the drinks menu. When the servers ask what drinks you want, don’t even hesitate. ”Water. The kind that’s free.” The Iced Milk Tea Hong Kong Style wasn’t my order. But I heard it was too milky. Even for milk tea.
The Pandan Iced Tea wasn’t my order, but it looked terrible. My first guess would be bland flavors. Looks almost like water in color.
I made the mistake of ordering the Iced Lemon Grass Tea with Honey. Too much lemon grass and not enough honey. Check that — no honey at all. Glad I wasn’t the only one who made this mistake jeje.
My sister wanted to try the Iced Vietnamese Coffee PHO24. Let’s just say they need new coffee grinders. You can still see the unground coffee bits.
I don’t think that Banana Leaf is one of the top places in the Metro. The flavors were OK, but nothing you can’t find anywhere else. Menu browsing was disappointing enough because the Banana Leaf overseas is actually renowned for their fish head curry and it was nowhere to be found in the menu. I think that the Singapore clams, the Roti Canai, the Nasi Goreng, and maybe the Hainanese Rice are worth going back for. Everything else? Look for it elsewhere.