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Banana Leaf

burp_excuzme Sep 27, 2009 11:04 PM

Anyone ever been to Banana Leaf at the Grove? I heard such mixed reviews about it that I'm confused. Some say it's authentic, some say it's not, some rave about the service, others say it was crap. Anyone been there recently and can let me know how their experience was? I grew up in Singapore, so I definitely know my Singaporean food. I just want to be prepared before I visit this Saturday with two of my white friends, lol.

  1. burumun Sep 28, 2009 12:58 AM

    Banana Leaf is just ... ok... this is my review of their laksa: http://gourmetpigs.blogspot.com/2008/...
    Not that it's "inauthentic" per se, but just .. not great. Since you grew up in Singapore, I would guess you won't be wow-ed. It's like eating at a so-so hawker place in S'pore.

    1 Reply
    1. re: burumun
      s
      stuffycheaks Sep 28, 2009 09:24 AM

      yeah I didn't think that the laksa was 100% authentic, but since it's virtually impossible to get Singaporean food in LA, this will have to do. I did like the roti prata and my sister liked the rojak at banana leaf

    2. o
      Obessed Sep 28, 2009 10:55 AM

      I have no idea if it's authentic as I have not been to Singapore, but I will say that the food is pretty delicious! I love the noodle dishes topped with a fried egg. The service is not so great, however, in my experience. I recently had lunch with 2 friends...we all ordered separately. 2 of us got our food before the friend who ordered first. They told us it was because what he ordered took longer, even though he ordered the same thing as my other friend. They finally brought his out...and it was noodles instead of the rice he ordered!? They clearly forgot his order, then messed it up...they were not even sorry, did not offer to compensate in any way. He got a refund and ended up eating tacos instead.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Obessed
        cant talk...eating Sep 28, 2009 11:44 AM

        I've been several times in the past few months, and I still think it's the best Indonesian food for miles around (but I've only spent a few months in Malaysia, so am by no means an expert!). Go, you'll enjoy it. As for the service, they tend to get slammed really quickly. If there are more than about 2 or 3 people in line ahead of us, we usually forget it and go elsewhere. Definitely order all at once, but I've never had them mix up an order as above. We've stuck to curries, rojak, roti - never gotten the soups (always so hot when we go). And, make sure to request it really spicy (if you like even moderately spicy food).

        As for its authentic-ness, let us know!

        1. re: cant talk...eating
          burp_excuzme Sep 29, 2009 12:08 AM

          Hahaaha, OF COURSE I'll get really spicy! As I said, I grew up in Singapore, so most "spicy" dishes just don't cut it for me ;-)

      2. h
        houndofmusic Sep 28, 2009 01:26 PM

        I love this place but cannot attest to its authenticity as I don't know Singaporean food well enough. The owners are from Singapore so they at least know what Singaporean food is like.

        As for service, I hope you realize that we are talking about a stall in the Farmers Market (NOT the Grove) with a couple tables in front of it. This isn't the sort of place for white glove service. That said, I've been coming here for years and have rarely encountered a problem.

        2 Replies
        1. re: houndofmusic
          b
          bsquared2 Sep 28, 2009 11:15 PM

          I don't think anybody looking for Singaporean food is looking for white glove service. But they are looking for good food. When I was in Singapore a local commented that Singaporeans can't stand for mediocre food. That is why all the places I ate at were amazing. If your food isn't good, you go out of business.

          The Banana Leaf is OK. The people that owned it are nice but the food isnt' in the same ballpark as anything in Singapore. I actually ate at the "Banana Leaf" restaurant in Singapore and it was amazing. I really wish there was a great Malay Singaporean restaurant in LA or Hollywood. I was in Kuala Lumpur a few months ago and all we did was eat.

          1. re: bsquared2
            b
            bulavinaka Sep 29, 2009 07:52 PM

            We haven't been in a while, but Belacan Grill in Redondo Beach/Torrance has been good to us in the past. Yazmin in Alhambra is more homey - my wife (from Malaysia) prefers them.

            -----
            Belacan Grill
            2701 190th St Ste 100, Redondo Beach, CA 90278

            Yazmin Malaysian Restaurant
            27 E Main St, Alhambra, CA 91801

        2. l
          Lynndsey Rigberg Sep 28, 2009 05:23 PM

          I've been to singapore so I know what you are talking about...and the level of quality you hope to find. You will be disappointed, its so darn mediocre. Not to say its on the level of Panda Express of Chinese food, but almost. The roti is clearly the packaged type.
          There used to be an amazing restaurant in Pasadena that had some authentic Malaysian and Indonesian but it has since closed. Oh, my kingdom for some authentic, thin and flaky roti without having to drive east of the 5!!!!

          1. c
            Clyde Sep 29, 2009 02:29 PM

            i love the banana leaf, but i don't know anything about it's authenticity, only that it tastes really good! my favorites are the rojak salad, the mee goreng, oh heck, i love everything i've ever ordered there including their steamed veggie salad with the peanut sauce- gato gato i think it's called. there is one girl at the counter who is rude, but the other employees there are awesome, especially the guy who owns the place- super friendly. i have nothing to compare this place with- but i can tell you that i've enjoyed every bite of food there and have turned many friends and coworkers on to the place and they love it too.

            1. s
              SilverlakePhil Sep 30, 2009 10:44 AM

              On a side note, I'm sure you guys saw Anthony Bourdain's Singapore episode on the Travel Channel. That scene where Mr.Bourdain was "drinking' that bone marrow through a straw was too much!

              1 Reply
              1. re: SilverlakePhil
                b
                bulavinaka Sep 30, 2009 08:24 PM

                I haven't seen that show (still in the Stone Age without cable/sat) and as many meals that I've had in Singapore, sipping bone marrow through a straw is a new one to me. But hey - one thing is for sure about Singapore - they will try just about anything if it offers even the smallest chance of a culinary payback. I'll look for that show - thanks...

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