Reviewed by Hilary Whates
For those not familiar with Milton Keynes ‘The Hub’ is an area devoted entirely to socialising and especially eating. With such an array of well-known and established eating out places to choose from in one area any newcomer will need to stand out from the crowd.
BananaTree Founder and Head Chef William Chow opened his first Indochinese restaurant in West London, keen to showcase the diverse cuisines of that region. 21 years later there are now 6 restaurants in London, one in Watford with this eighth addition to the company opening next week in Milton Keynes. So the challenge for this restaurant is can it match its London success in a Buckinghamshire town?
We went along to the taster evening – with drinks – including Dirty Thai Guy – described as ‘a strong drink’ comprising rum, Cointreau, lime juice, netmeg and lemongrass. I opted for Lychee Mojito with lychee wine and juice with rum, mint leaves and lime slices – really refreshing and I just love the drama of a mixologist at work!
The décor has quite an industrial feel with steps up and down to various levels. There are separate tables and also areas with long benches – even steps down to a ‘room’ where you sit on the floor but there are gaps under the table for legs rather than having to sit cross legged. Very clever and looks great. The busy kitchen was on full view and looked very well organised and under control. As well as standing areas around the bar there were some fun hammock chairs hanging from the ceiling. Mr T and I had great fun trying to get into the chairs without spilling our drinks. He had more luck than me… A quick mention for the staff – really friendly, helpful and knowledgeable – and quick to provide napkins to hide wet patches!!!
We tried a number of canapés – Street Style Crispy Dough – yummy dipped into the accompanying Kajang satay sauce – and also the Crispy Seafood Money Bags – King prawn, white fish and vegetable parcels, served with a sweet chilli dipping sauce. We were also given little shot glasses containing the Banana Tree Laksa – really delicious. There is a comprehensive menu to suit all tastes and timescales – the express lunchtime menu from only £5.95 sounding like a real bargain.
The atmosphere was buzzing which really added to the enjoyment of the whole evening – hopefully not because it was a special launch event. I can see no reason at all why people won’t be attracted to this great new addition to the Hub – I really hope so otherwise they will be missing a treat. Mr T and I will certainly be going back for dinner and also so that I can master the art of sitting in a hammock seat without pouring my drink all over me!
If you are in Milton Keynes make sure you add BananaTree to your list of places to eat – you won’t be disappointed. It’s just that little bit different from the rest to make it special – great news for Milton Keynes!
The BananaTree in Milton Keynes will be opening soon.
For more information or to download menus visit www.bananatree.co.uk.
BananaTree, Holkham Walk, The Hub, Milton Keynes, MK9 2HP | 01908 676993