Banana Leaf (Vancouver, Singapore/Malaysian, Pictures)
My Family had a late lunch on Friday at Banana Leaf - a perennial Vancouver favourite. It is a restaurant that deservedly wins many Reader's Choice awards on various local publications (not usually an true indicator of quality, but it is in this case.)
They now have a Tasting Menu ($25) - a great new trend in town. We ordered that a few other items: Satays, Deep Fried Tofu, Gado Gado, Roti and (the real reason for my visit here) the Hainan Chicken.
Let me start with the Hainan Chicken. The Chicken was frankly less gelatinous that the way I like it. The bird was larger than at most places which probably contributed to the slight stringiness. The poaching was less than exemplary. The chili sauce and ginger sauce were fine - but neither tasted fresh and bright. The dark soy tasted like slightly sweetened regular soy - it didn't have the caramelized (almost burnt) sugar flavour that will provide authenticity to the dish. It was good, but Prima Taste's chicken was far better.
The Roti was beautifully flakey and tender and the curry sauce was nice and somewhat thick. The Gado Gado was fine - not the best I have had in terms of presentation and freshness - the peanut sauce was a little too sweet and lacked bite and salt. The skewers were delicious, but it hard to go wrong with satays. The Stuffed Deep Fried Tofo was also wuite nice (the fresh salad ingredients that comprised the stuff was an excellent contrast to the fried tofu).
The tasting menu was a really good survey of their offerings. It included a S=salad (with ripe papaya), Squid rings, Satays, and I can't remember...it was all a blur.
Overall, an excellent meal - the tasting menu is a great sampler at $25 per person. The qualtiy of the food, presentation, and service are what keep me coming back.