Always been inspired to write, and love the idea of freelancing now. Enjoy quaffing wine; good coffees and being festive in the festival state. Thirsting for experiencing so much more...
Published June 8th 2012
Well, weighing up my choices for lunch on a busy day in the CBD, I considered all the potential options for a cheaper fare to be had - that had to be reasonably healthy as well. Sumo Salad, Subway's new Moroccan lamb (I am however, terminally disappointed whenever I have Subway subs, except for the meatball option), food court fiascos ...
Then, I remembered that near all the bus stops on Currie St, is a reasonably new curry house called The Banana Leaf; well, if you're ever stranded there, waiting (as you do) for the bus home, the cooking smells emanating from The Banana Leaf either turn you on or turn you off (depending on whether you've recently eaten or not?) but, whatever they've done for me, at the time, they've remained memorable. So, they have a placard advertising a $10 lunch special. Thought on this particular cold, but sunny day, that I would take them up on it.
For $10, you are provided with a few choices of meat curries, with rice and the ever evident pappadum. They give you the choice of either lamb, chicken or beef (I'm sure they'd accommodate with a vegetarian choice if you requested one) and that was as a korma, madras or vindaloo (hottest) curry. The rice and curry come separately and don't look like much, but having selected the Chicken Madras (upon recommendation from the chef, who was at the counter at the time), there were actually quite a few pieces of filleted meat in the little dish, actually, and for a woman, it was plenty. Keeping me full into the evening, after beating the lunch time rush and selecting to dine (or my stomach did) at 11.30am.
The rice, was fluffy basmati and although I can handle a hot curry, the madras curry sauce was perfect for lunch, not wanting to opt for the creamier varieties, such as butter chicken. It was really nice; the service was attentive, without being bothersome and I felt good (and alone until a group of Indian men arrived to dine); I guess, like with Chinese or Asian restaurants, it's always a good sign if you spot Asians actually eating in the eatery.
For drinks, as it was cold, I opted for hot tea (not included in the price) and was served something like a cappuccino cup of Chai (had a name like Marsala Tea). Strong on the cardamom, but absolutely yummy and just what the Dr ordered on a chilly day. Although a little dark, the decor is subtle and not offensive and they even put on some pretty good, jazzy Indian music whilst I was there (not that cat screechy stuff like on Bollywood films!) All in all, very enjoyable, they even asked me how everything was, before I left, not in that imploring way either, and all this on a $10 special.
On a whim, I also ordered (a bit over the top, when I had already ordered the aforementioned tea drink, which was really authentic, by the way, and was served milky and sweet as a good Chai should be) a Rose Lassi. It was meant to evoke one I'd had years ago in Bali, at the old Bumbu Bali Indian restaurant near the Palace in Ubud. They knew what I was talking about when I described it, but it was not quite the same. It was very thick, pretty sweet, served with one of those straws that has a spoon on the end, consequently. Apparently made with a rose syrup and yoghurt, it evoked the Taj Mahal in it's heyday for me or street sellers in Mumbai. But I missed the spice (from memory cardamom and perhaps cinnamon?)
This place, also does some Indian sweets (having previously purchased some from them at the time of the Indian ceremony, Diwali. I saw their sign saying they sold Diwali sweets and as per, I was curious), at least for ceremony time, they are exquisite. I declined sweets this time (options were my old favourite gulab jamun or kulfi, a carrot and condensed milk sweet, I think). If they have sweets for a ceremony, get some - they were like treats from a French patisserie, small and far, far too beautiful to actually eat! They would be such a lovely way to finish off an Indian dinner party, with, if you can get it, a CD of Indian dinner music. I got one from the old Title store on The Parade, before they closed. Be sure you can obtain a lovely compilation from the right music store.
I really liked this place and will be going again in the near future. Also want to do dinner there - they have specials for dinner too.