Last night I went out to dinner with a friend I’ve known for 10 years. Gabe is leaving me at the end of the month to live in the Guatemalan mountains so I’m trying to soak up as much friendship as possible.
He took me to Banyan Tree – a fairly new Thai restaurant in the Cronulla development on Croydon St. The restaurant has a warm atmosphere with lots of red, purple and orange featured in the décor. It’s modern and definitely not your typical takeaway Thai – more upmarket and trendy.
We shared 3 courses and it was a beautiful culinary experience!
Starting with entrees we had the Diamond Bags – a money bag style dish with pork, kafir leaves & lime with a delicious traditional sweet chilli dipping sauce. These were crunchy, full of flavour and a great start. We also had Autumn Rolls – BBQ Duck in rice paper rolls. I’m not a huge fan of rice paper anything but the sweet and spicy dipping sauce made up for it. We ended up eating all the decorative carrot and lettuce on the plate, just so we could finish the sauce!
Our mains arrived promptly (though not fast enough to make you wonder if they just banged the dish in the microwave). I ordered the PP Island Curry which was absolutely delicious. It was a little spicy but bearable (I’m a wuss), and creamy with a coconut milk. There were plenty of prawns and fish pieces and with the coconut rice we also ordered I couldn’t finish my bowl.
Gabe had the barbequed Octopus. Now I’ve never tried octopus and I don’t think I will ever again. I’m writing it off just as I have oysters – because if something has a strange texture, it’s not getting eaten by me! The oysters were rubbery and I didn’t like the feeling of 8 tentacles on my tongue. I had to ask Gabe if you were meant to swallow them whole because they were so chewy but according to him they were pretty good as far as barbequed octopus goes.
Even though we were both full, Gabe insisted we have dessert so we shared the Banyan Tree Sweet Roti (and I’m really glad we did, especially as it got the octopus taste out of my mouth!)
This dish was delightful. A scoop of icecream with peanuts on one side and this melt in your mouth roti (like a crepe) was cut into bite sized pieces and drizzled with chocolate and caramel sauce.
The staff were lovely, atmosphere friendly. A little dark but this allowed for more intimacy I thought. Gabe and I had a lot to talk about though and the open plan table setting didn’t particularly suit us as you are backed on to other patrons. A corner table would have been preferable so we could have talked as inappropriately as we wished but the amazing desert made up for it.
The prices were fairly reasonable for the average human I suppose but a bit expensive for two uni students. The total bill came to $70 not including wine. But I would highly recommend Banyan Tree for a special treat for students instead of packet noodles, or a nice meal for couples and families on a weeknight or weekend. 3.5/5 stars
Banyan Tree Cronulla – Menu