Review | Banana Tree's Vegan Menu

09 July, 2019

Banana Tree Vegan Menu Review

Banana Tree is a small restaurant chain that specialises in pan-Asian cuisine, serving up dishes from the Indochina region – specifically Singaporean, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Malaysian and Thai cuisine. The founder of Banana Tree, William Chow, opened his first restaurant 27 years ago in West London and now there are a total of nine restaurants with six of them in London.

I was invited as a guest to Banana Tree's Veganuary event at the start of the year, which coincided with the launch of their extended vegan menu. Whilst that evening we were given tasters of the new plant-based menu, I was only able to try a few sharer-sized dishes. However, although I was under the influence of a few cocktails, I did not stop gushing about the vegan satay sticks throughout the months that followed. When I was invited back to review the menu as a true dining experience, I was eager to discover whether the satay sticks were really as good as I remembered and check out some of the bigger dishes on the menu.

Banana Tree Vegan Satay Sticks

We headed down to the Islington restaurant, which is just a few minutes walk from Angel station, as it's the most local venue for us. It's quite a small space, but the layout works well and you don't necessarily feel too cramped when dining. Banana Tree offer a completely separate vegan menu that you can ask for upon arrival, however the menu system can be a little tricky to navigate. Whilst vegan options are listed on the vegan menu, no prices are listed meaning you have to cross-check your dishes on the standard menu, which doesn't quite make sense. Also, I found when browsing the main menu, there were a couple of vegan options on there that weren't even listed on the vegan menu (including the laksa, which I got for my main course), so it's worth checking the main menu for options too.

Let's cut to the chase: were the Vegan Satay Sticks as good as I remembered? Abso-bloody-lutely. I had been raving about them to James for months so there was quite a bit of anticipation before we took our first bite but luckily they were just as good as I remembered and James thoroughly approved of them too! The satay sticks are made from barbecued soy pieces and come served with a delicious peanut satay dip, plus a small serving of palm-wrapped rice and pickled vegetables.

Banana Tree Vegan Gyozas Review

As well as the vegan satay sticks, we also ordered a plate of the Vegan Gyozas to start, which are deliciously crispy and filled with marinated shitake mushrooms, chives, carrots and spring onions and served with a chilli dip. I will almost definitely order them again next time I'm at Banana Tree!

For my main course, I decided upon the Tofu Laksa, which as I noted earlier isn't on the vegan menu but is a vegan option on the main menu. In case you didn't know, a laksa is a dish from the Peranakan culture and is essentially a fusion of of Chinese noodles and Southeast Asian curries. In fact, before my trip to Banana Tree, I had never actually tried a laksa before and now I'm a huge fan.

The tofu laksa from Banana Tree is bursting with flavour, loaded with huge spongey tofu pieces that the amalgamation of bold and vibrant flavours from the curry soup. Chock full of aubergine, chillies, lime and enriched with coriander, mint and more, this isn't a dish I'll be forgetting anytime soon. I can well and truly say that Banana Tree absolutely delivered on my first laksa experience!

Banana Tree Vegan Tofu Laksa Review

James opted for the Coconut Kari, a curry using vegan bites (I assume it's the same as what's used in the vegan satay), aubergine, tofu and bamboo shoots cooked into a traditional Malaysian red curry paste and coconut milk. I only had a bite of it because I had my own huge bowl of laksa to work through but I really enjoyed it, as did James. The curry doesn't come with rice as part of the dish, so he ordered a side of palm-wrapped sticky rice to go with it.

Banana Tree Vegan Banana ‘Frotiteroles’

Despite being absolutely stuffed, we still found room for dessert and couldn't resist the sound of the Banana ‘Frotiteroles’. They're essentially deep-fried banana pieces drizzled in a rich, sticky chocolate sauce and served with a side of sorbet. We had a bit of a hiccup when we first ordered the frotiteroles as they arrived with a scoop of ice cream despite us asking for the vegan option, but it was quickly sent back to the kitchen and rectified as they made us a new batch with a scoop of mango sorbet instead.

I really enjoyed all of our dishes from Banana Tree and would definitely go back another time. It's definitely a great stop for lunch or dinner if you're a vegan and feeling peckish whilst in the city!

Find Banana Tree

Address: 412-416 St John St, Islington, London EC1V 4NJ (other locations include Soho, West Hampstead and more)
Closest tube station: Angel

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Disclaimer: We were invited for a complimentary meal but all words are honest and my own.


  1. Oo all of this food looks and sounds incredible! I am a vegetarian, so finding interesting places to eat is always something I am doing. I'll certainly be visiting here when I'm in the area :)

  2. It's great to see restaurants offering wider selections for those on non-traditional diets. The menu system does sound a tad confusing.

  3. The coconut kari and the vegan satay have my mouth watering! Looks like a fantastic place to go to for a bite to eat.

  4. Fantastic options for vegans. It's a shame about the tricky ordering system, but I'm glad you found some delicious dishes to order eventually.

  5. That food looks absolutely amazing - I have really changed my eating habits lately and seriously considering going vegan!

  6. Oh goodness, the food looks so good, I need to eat there!!

  7. Oh wow this looks so good, that laksa looks delicious. This has made me so hungry and wanting to visit a Banana Tree soon!

  8. Wow the menu and choice of food looks amazing! You’d have never guessed it was vegan x


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