The last time I went to Banana Leaf (the Denman location) was over a year ago, and I remember liking it a lot. This morning, I remembered why I don't visit there very often, haha! It wasn't even that spicy, but I guess I'm just not used to it and this morning, I'm paying for my sins from last night.
Almost exactly like our last visit, there were five of us and we got the tasting menu for $28 a heard.
We started off with the papaya and pineapple salad which was an assortment of greens, papaya, tomato, and pineapple. I dunno, maybe it's just me, but I'm starting to find the vinaigrette dressings used in a lot of restaurants nowadays are all starting to taste the same. When I was a kid, I only liked Thousand Islands, haha! Anyway, the salad wasn't bad, but the dressing they used didn't stick to the salad very well, and I ended up with a pool of vinegar when I was done.
The next dish consisted of roti and deep fried squid. I remember at the Demnan location, we got chicken satay and spring rolls, but here, we got 5 skewers (one per person) of satay separately and no spring rolls. The roti came with a dish of curry dipping sauce, and the squid came with a sweet and spicy sauce that actually went very well with the squid. It would have been nice to get more of this stuff, but we were pretty full in the end, so it all worked out.
The mussels turned out to be really small, and were pretty hard to open. Not sure if this was a good thing because you're not supposed to eat shellfish that stay closed. All of them were opened, but many were nearly closed, and took some effort to completely open. The sauce tasted really good, but the freshness of the mussels has me concerned because at least two of us had a bit of stomach trouble this morning. I didn't ask my friend if her's was due to the spiciness of the food, or other reasons.
After we finished the appies, our server (at least I think she was our server...there was another guy bringing out the dishes as well, but that's all he did - not particularly friendly either) actually cleared our plates, wiped the table down and replaced all our cutlery, napkins and plates. Our water glasses were never empty, and this was all done with a pleasant smile. The mains consisted of Rendang Beef, seafood and green beans, stir fried green beans, and black cod.
The Rendang Beef was a bit spicier than the other dishes, and I have to admit, is not one of my favourite dishes. The beef was too lean for my liking, just like at the Denman location. I'll have to remember next time not to order this one if we go off the sampler menu.
The gulai scallops and prawns was a bit of a disappointment as well. The prawns were nice and big, but the scallops were obviously sliced from one large scallop to about a Loonie thickness. Also, some of the green beans were completely raw, which was kind of strange because some of the beans from the same dish were completely cooked.
The stir fried green beans were good on their own, some of them were still slightly raw, which made me wonder if this is just the way Malaysians to it. The stir friend green beans were light years better than the ones that came with the curry seafood assortment.
The black cod was pretty good. The fish is so awesome on it's own, you'd have to be a complete muppet to screw this one up. But thankfully, Banana Leaf did a good job of enhancing the flavour of an already very tasty fish. The cod was probably pan fried at one point, resulting in a slightly crispy skin, and served with a caramalized garlic and onion sauce that was sort of sweet (I didin't detect much ginger as with the Denman location). I ate everything, including the skin from my fish (and other people's as well, haha!). I don't understand people that don't eat the skin, it's the best part! Same thing goes for chicken skin as well...it baffles my mind when someone has fried chicken and throws away the skin......heretics.
By the time desert rolled around, I was quite full. Not sure if it was because I ate more than other people, or there was just a lot of food (probably the first, haha!). The deep fried banana was served with a sauce that reminded me of the sauce found on mitarashi dango, a sort of sweet soy suace glaze. Can't go wrong with deep fried bananas, ice cream and syrup, but I ate too much througout the meal, so I didn't really get to enjoy desert comfortably.
The highlights of my meal were the roti, the sauce from the mussels, the quid and the cod. I think for $28, it might be slightly out of my comfort zone for what I was getting, even though I was stuffed. I think it was probably just because I ate more than my fare share. The service was great from one person (forgot her name - Tinami, Tamini?) but less than stellar from the other. Would I go back? Probably not unless it was the choice of the group.