I always hear the name “Banana Leaf” pop up whenever I ask people what a good place for Malaysian is so to Banana Leaf (on Robson) I went!
The restaurant is quite pretty on the outside and inside. They have outdoor seating available, which is absolutely perfect for the sunny breezy evenings, but if you’re bringing a date, I’d recommend sitting inside. The lights are quite dim, seating and table arrangements are very spacious, and the atmosphere itself is very peaceful and relaxing. They have some very nice pieces for their interior decor as well.
Service is alright. Let’s just say I had higher expectations? I would have liked for our server to be a bit more energetic and cheerful just because of the price range and appearance of the place. Our server also came by to check on us way more than needed. I didn’t really mind it too much, but I felt like my friend and I were constantly getting interrupted whether we were chatting or eating. These are minor issues of course, nothing I’d dwell on too much. I just expected more is all.
Now time to talk about the food and drinks. The menu is quite extensive, and creative, but also in the higher price range. You can view the full menu here.
For drinks, my friend ordered the Blended Lychee Mojito, and I ordered the Fresh Mango Margarita.
I couldn’t really taste much mango. If I did, it was ever-so-slightly and maybe only in the first sip. After that, all I could really taste was sugar and alcohol. It was pretty disappointing…
It’s an interesting looking drink (not really sure what the green specks are). However, the taste wasn’t so spectacular. Similar to the first drink, it mostly tasted like sugar and alcohol. It’s pretty ridiculous when the drinks cost $8 per glass.
For food, we ordered the Tofu Goreng, Mixed Vegetables with Browned Shallots & Garlic, and Pineapple Fried Rice with Seafood & Chicken.
The Tofu Goreng actually took me by surprise (not that I expected it to be bad). It was so delicious; the tofu was fried to perfection, and the inside was very soft. I was actually afraid that the sauce would make the tofu soggy and unappetizing but in turn, the skin was still very crispy. The inside of the tofu was still hot too. I’m also not a big fan of bean sprouts, but this combination worked very well. I definitely recommend this dish.
I was kind of disappointed with this dish. The sauce was very overpowering, and essentially all I could taste was soy sauce. The whole point of us ordering vegetables was so that we could eat something healthy. Just my luck, the vegetables were drenched in salt. And honestly, for $13, I would have expected there to be more vegetables.
This seemed to be a very popular dish (there was one sitting on almost every table), so we ordered it. It’s very vibrant in colors, and cute. I mean who wouldn’t want seafood and chicken fried rice served in a pineapple? It’s an eye-catcher. Now I wish I had more good things to say about this dish, but I don’t. The fried rice was really boring in taste. I’m Chinese, so fried rice is a pretty common dish to me. That being said, this fried rice dish tasted like every other fried rice I’ve ever eaten, whether I had it at a food court or at a cheap Chinese restaurant. I didn’t even notice any sunflower seeds, and I really disliked the raisins. I feel like I was paying $8 for the fried rice, and another $7 for the presentation. It shouldn’t be that way, but rather I should be paying at least 85% for the food and its quality. The presentation should be complimentary. Oh well.
Our total came out to be a bit over $60 including tax and tip. I guess my friend and I were pretty shocked when we saw the bill for $54.60, but only because it wasn’t really worth it. The tofu appetizer was great, but that was about it. Although the food was filling, the quality could’ve been much better. I don’t mean to sound insulting but I’ve had $6 takeout fried rice boxes that were much better than the $15 fried rice here. The service was mediocre…there’s not much to compliment or complain about.
Will I be going back? Probably not.
It’s weird because I always hear compliments about Banana Leaf and I trust that people know what they’re talking about when it comes to food. There’s even an 85% rating for Banana Leaf (on Robson) on Urbanspoon, which is pretty high. Odd. Maybe when the time comes, I’ll give this place another shot. Maybe I was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. But of course, food quality is supposed to be consistent right? Hopefully you won’t be as unlucky if you do decide to go.
If you have went before, please share your experience with me. And if you do decide to go, let me know how the food and service goes for you. Good luck!