Banana Tree, Clapham Junction

I have been to the Banana Tree twice now and both times I have been delighted with the food served. My most recent visit was during the week, yet the place had a lively atmosphere and there wasn’t an empty table in sight. The menu proves for difficult decisions; my mission is to try each dish – mission accepted! After much to-ing an fro-ing I decided on the crispy chicken with mango & sweet lime sauce with sweetcorn cakes, jasmine rice and the Indo house salad (combo meal).
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What an absolute treat for the tastebuds. The chicken was sticky in a wonderful sauce and the meat itself was juicy and tender. There was a little bit of everything one could possibly desire on the plate with this choice. I managed to size it all in – it wasn’t hard.
Sarah had the kajang satay sticks served with a really delicious peanut buttery sauce and steamed palm leaf rice. She also had some of the sweetcorn cakes served with a yummy dipping sauce. Again, the chicken was so tender and the sweetcorn cakes were balls of gooey goodness.
image 4We left with full tummies and happy heads. It will be difficult to not have the crispy chicken on my next visit but I am willing to branch out for the sake of the mission.
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Bintang, Kentish Town

Me and Sarah headed over to Kentish Town a few weekends ago for a friends birthday party and let me tell you, it was worth the one hour journey across London. We took advantage of Bintang’s Bring Your Own Bottle (BYOB) option and paid £20 a head for corkage and a main course. A few of us thought this was a little steep as we were essentially just paying for a main course in terms of food and a few nibbles would definitely have been welcome. Nonetheless the food was mouthwateringly good (yes I am dribbling at my laptop). I went for the duck gua bao with wasabi slaw and sweet potato fries, heaven on a plate.
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The only complaint I had about the dish was that my (and Sarah’s) bun and filling was cold which was a shame… still delicious though. Also, I loved the plates that Bintang use – almost creating an Asian-British fusion. Others had the Katsu Chicken Goujon Curry…
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Another dish which got positive reviews – “better than Wagamamas” I heard.
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Overall, a great evening with top notch food. Service was quick and friendly, including the chefs who you often bump into on your way to the garden area. I shall certainly be heading back here to try Bintangs other delights.

Phât Phúc Noodle Bar, Chelsea

It’s a tough life; shopping, eating, sitting around drinking coffee… so when we stumbled across Phât Phúc Noodle Bar in Chelsea we came to the quick conclusion that we deserved a nice bowl of noodles. Whilst the noodle bar is outdoors it’s warm and cosy. A note of warning: there’s a real danger of reminiscing of travels to far away places – the two Sarah’s and me were left with travelling blues with a particular focus on Thailand. And so we were left grumpy… grumpy and hungry, what a terrible combination…
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But the food arrived quickly and we were soon left full to the brim and full of smiles…

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*Phew*. Myself and Sarah had the prawn laksa which had 4-5 big juicy prawns in it. The other Sarah had the vegetable laksa which featured mange tout, broccoli, mushrooms and tofu among other goodies.

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And so we left happy. Of course we had a good giggle at the whole “Phât Phúc” thin which we learnt actually means Happy Buddha (thank goodness).

Chop & Wok

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I was drawn to the idea of Chop & Wok after hearing ‘takeaway’ and ‘healthy’ in the same sentence. What really should have been said was, a ‘healthier’ alternative to your standard Chinese takeaway. Mainly because you order your one box of goodies and that’s you done. No dibbling and dabbling in a bit of this and a bit of that… after all I come from a family who orders a selection of dishes and then we all share. I am very aware that this infuriates some people. Well to them I say, Chop & Wok is your place. It took bang on an hour to arrive, as stated it would on the website. We ordered on a Friday night at around 8pm so we were ready for the wait. One thing I loved about this takeaway was the fact that there was NO washing up at the end, nothing, not even a fork. The delivery arrived with chopsticks, plastic forms, wipes and of course came in the iconic Chinese takeaway boxes. Also, we got a freebie with our order, a free side! With every order over £15 Chop & Wok give you a free side. No choice so it’s pot luck as to what you get. Luckily I’m not fussy so this wasn’t as issue. Personally, I thought we should have got 2 free sides because we spent over £40 but that’s me being greedy. Plus, they forgot our prawn cracker which we paid for!!

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The online menu is really cool, letting you choose from a huge selection of goodies. I went for rice noodles, black bean sauce, salmon, prawns and pak choi. They were pretty stingy on the salmon, prawns and pak choi so it was pretty much a huge pile of noodles with a flake of salmon here and there. I wouldn’t choose the rice noodles again as it was a little mushy. The annoying this was that I tried my friends ones and there’s tasted MUCH better. They all either had egg noodles or rice, had meat (duck or chicken) and had Tokyo honey and lime sauce. Isn’t that the worst… when you’re bitterly disappointed with your own meal and the next person is munching away having a brilliant time.

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So, I’m willing to give Chop and Wok another go. I’m sure I got the rotten end of the stick on this occasion (I hope anyway – I don’t want too many more rotten sticks). If you’re going to give Chop and Wok a go, learn from my mistakes… get something meaty! No flimsy noodles or fish.