Most canny London diners have a mental list of budget eateries that they can always fall back on, & Banana Tree – the now-trendy Thai chain that’s grown steadily over the last 20 years – is emphatically on the list. ‘Tasty food at a reasonable price’ is enough to keep punters queuing up, squeezing in & sharing tables. ‘Indochina’ is the culinary inspiration, & dishes from Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore & Thailand all make an appearance on the menu. Chicken-stuffed ‘moneybags’ & aubergine with aromatic caramel sauce are favoured appetisers, ahead of ‘huge mains’ such as char-grilled blackened chilli pork with nasi goreng, steaming bowls of laksa & Thai green curry. Vegetarians will find tofu & vegetable options aplenty. Cheap Asian-inspired cocktails & cold beers complete an offbeat, ‘gap year’ experience.
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