15 February 2008

The Banyan Tree Indian Restaurant

Unusual for these times, a google search for the Banyan Tree Indian Restaurant was quite unrevealing - perhaps because there seem to be at least two Banyan Tree Indian Restaurants in each city in Australia - plus various resorts and day spas in Thailand and India with the same name. Several google permutations later we managed to locate a review by bergsy on a Vogue Australia forum (http://forums.vogue.com.au/showthread.php?t=190279&page=221). Things seem to have improved considerably since bergsy dined at the Banyan Tree (or maybe we're easier to please) so we can safely say that it is no longer necessary to give the Banyan Tree a wide girth (sic) as suggested by bergsy.

A quick search of Wikipedia reveals that a Banyan Tree is a form of fig which grows within cracks and crevices of a host tree or building. The germinated seed of the Banyan sends its roots down towards the ground enveloping part of the host tree or building, earning it the friendly sounding nickname "Strangler Fig", which is perhaps not as nice a name for a restaurant as the Banyan Tree.

Wikipedia also tells us that the Banyan Tree is considered sacred in India and Pakistan. It's fair to say that we didn't treat the Banyan Tree Indian Restaurant with due reverence when we took advantage of its BYO licensing by bringing with us more than a bottle of wine per person in our party (which is a fair effort given BITO was not drinking).

Upon arrival we were gladdened to see a large Indian family sitting at one table and apparently enjoying their food. We were also charmed by the gentlemen in the restaurant who decided that nothing says I love you on Valentines Day better than a cozy curry at the Banyan Tree. We had thought that a suburban Indian joint might be the one place we could be guaranteed to avoid the usual Valentines Day couples fest, but we were incorrect. No doubt those couples who had chosen to enjoy a couply dinner at the Banyan Tree really enjoyed the Deliberator's raucous commentry on life as we quickly demolished our meal and half a dozen bottles of wine.

The large amount of wine has not helped our memories of the meal or the restaurant, but we do recall that the obligatory pappadums and dips arrived shortly after we were seated and were very crisp and tasty. The decor was a charming blend of faded Indian bling and even more faded 1970s laminex - the indoor plants were a nice touch. That said, for Indian fare you wouldn't have it any other way.

We liked the starter plate ($24 each). Two of them were a sufficent entree for our party of five and enabled us to try several of the tasty entrees on offer, including a samosa and several tandoori items.

For mains, we ordered a curry for each person plus rice and two types of naan bread, which typically for an Indian restaurant was way too much food. The chicken jalfreezi was very nice, as was the mince stuffed naan. The Brains failed miserably with her choice of a prawn dish, but what do you expect?

The wait staff was speedy and efficient, although not super chatty. We suspect they were overseas students and that English is not their first language but we were able to overcome the language barrier by adopting the international code of repeating ourselves and getting progressively louder and slower each time. We had to chase up one of our mains, but given how many we had ordered this was really only a very minor inconvenience.

In summary:

Service: Fast but not super chatty.

Food: All quite tasty, although the prawn korma was not a favourite.

Ambience: The decor is the perfect blend of Indian bling with faded 1970s laminex.

Highlight: All of the curries were quite tasty with just the right amount of schtang and most of the condiments were free and plentiful.

Lowlight: Some of the curries were a little on the watery side.

Rating: 3.5 samosas out of 5.

Will we be back? probably but won't rush.

Details: call on (08) 9473 1190. You can BYO and corkage is $[something insignifcant after 1.2 bottlse of wine each] per bottle.

Coming up: We're heading next door to the Banyan Tree and look forward to a meal among the nursery at the Mia Cafe.


Anonymous said...

I just googled Banyan Tree to try and find a review and found your Beaufort Street blog which i think is a fantastic idea (jealous i didn't think of it myself). It's going to come in very handy since i live just off Beaufort St and love eating out - keep up the great reviews! I think you should do the same thing next year for all the hair dressing salons on Beaufort St but i suppose you'll have to take it in turns to let your hair grow a bit in between hair cuts...

Beaufort Street Bloggers said...

Hi anonymous. Thanks for your comment. The Bloggers have also noted the extraordinary number of hair salons on Beaufort Street and we have often wondered how they have all survived. As for doing a review of each one, BITO now does the Sponge's hair at home, the Brains has a hair dresser loyalty that will never be broken, BITO's heading the same way, and when the Deliberator makes his annual pilgramiage, he will only visit a barber who has dirty magazines available in the waiting room.

We would love to read about it if you took on the challenge though.

Anonymous said...

Wow, speedy service - you were lucky. I've been to the Banyan Tree twice and the first time I waited 45 mins for the mains, the second time I waited over one hour.

Food was good but service was absolutely terrible.

Marz said...

Hey BB's
Grrlfrommarz and I did the "fat girl clothing" (tracky-dax -read take aways) from the Banyan Tree on the weekend. we really enjoyed it but the two curries looked mysteriously the same and were somewhat watery. All negativity vanished once we sarted gorging ourselves - it was considerably better than some of the Indian around the traps (food that is).Next time we'll try the thick sauc curries.The menu is rather large, but it was nice to see some diversity there from your usual pick a vat of sauce and add your meat etc to it. Re decor, we suspect they got a job lot of conference room furniture from Ross's Auction - I was expecting a lot more Indian bling so was a little disappointed.
PS...It's a shame that you have missed out on one of Perth's best kept secrets for take away Indian which was opposite The Queens. Roger has closed his doors unfortunately. I suspect Mykonos is going to expand.
Look forward to your next review.

Beaufort Street Bloggers said...

Hi Marz, thanks for your comment. And we're sure you and grrlfrommars looks fabulous in a track suit.

We're sorry to get your hopes up about the Indian bling, but at least you wouldn't have been disappointed with the faded laminex. We were also quite keen on the line of anaemic looking indoor palms lined up in the back of the restaurant.

We sadly never visited that Indian place on near Mykonos (was it called Suraj?). In fact, you're the first person we have ever heard of even going there. It's always a shame to see the little secrets disappear.

The Worst of Perth said...

We weren't particularly impressed, but we were so distracted by the boy (ours) throwing food around that we really couldn't concentrate too much on the experience. We left rapidly with a shockwave of broken pappadums and rice in a ring around our table that took in the personal space of several other diners.

David Cohen said...

Food has been above-average when we've been. One time the air-con had broken down - that combined with the vindaloo made it a hot evening, oh yes indeed. Service has been glacial.

Beaufort Street Bloggers said...

Since writing this post, we have heard so many conflicting reports of dining at the Banyan Tree. We have often wondered whether it changes hands on an almost weekly basis.

The Worst of Perth - we know exactly what you mean by the rice ring, we have the same problem with our empty wine bottles.

David - if nothing else, the broken down AC would have given the place a much needed dash of authenticity, which we felt the plastic palms did not quite provide.

Anonymous said...

is under new owners since last week.

I liked their variety of breads. Will give it another try.

Anonymous said...

As loyal fans to Jewel of the Park in Vic Park, we wanted to give Banyan Tree a go as they were new to the area and we live in Mt Lawley anyway. Worst curry ever!
Thankfully they didn't last, but new owners have renamed the place Dehli Palace... highly recommend it and could easily replace the old fave Jewel as the new choice of curry! Your blog is great by the way!

Anonymous said...

Re: Delhi Palace I take back what I said in my last post, unless there is a different chef cooking the take-aways. We dined with a big table and it was dismal. Dismal service, pre-cooked bland meats swimming in somewhat ok flavoured sauces.
Plus it doesn't help when you catch the chef picking his nose front of house! I suggest you guys miss this one out, unless you want to chance a take-away.
1 out of 5 nose nuggets from this disappointed diner!

Beaufort Street Bloggers said...

Anonymous - Dehli Palace / the Banyan Tree is just is just so bizarre - one minute the food is top notch, the next it's shithouse. What's going on? Is the chef only rolling in once a week and for the rest of the time letting the overseas students try their hand at curry making? And what's with the nose picking, we would have thought that picking your nose behind closed doors would be learnt in Cooking 101.

Thanks for the heads up though, we don't think we'll hurry back.

natasha said...

Does anybody know what happened to the owners of Suraj Indian takeaway on Beaufort St (opp the Queens). They did some fantastic Indian takeaway. Shame that they closed down. I wanted to catch up with the owner Roger to see if he would give me the recipe for his delicious Khati rolls- but sadly dont know how to find him.

aprons for sale said...

im really impressed with the idea making the Banyan tree a resto. but i believe to respect the indian and pakistan.

peny113 said...

I love curry and prawn. Not a good combination but, I really love to eat these two. Your review of the restaurant is quite comprehensive, eh. :)

Peny@medical equipment

Invertir en oro said...

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geoff Miller said...

Hi i also want to kno the recipe have u found him yet ?