The food was nice enough, but you really must go for the baby chairs. Now there's a sentence I never thought I'd be writing when I originally started this blog in 2006.
Banana Tree started out some 20 years ago and has now expanded into a mini-chain across London, attracting good reviews. I stumbled upon their Islington branch the other day, and was lured in by a board promising a lunch from just £5.65. There are more exciting options on the menu -- which spans from Thailand to Singapore, via Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia -- but that price (plus service charge) bought me a plate of chicken pad thai, washed down with regularly refilled tap water.
The dish smelt burnt when it arrived, although I didn't actually find any culprits for the aroma. A few slices of red chilli added bite, raw bean sprouts provided some crunch and a wedge of lime contributed the zing. There were also a few crispy deep fried tortilla-ish chips on the side. It was a perfectly pleasant lunch, but no more.
The high chair on the other hand was simply awesome. The waiter produced a folded, cloth contraption, about A3 size. As I looked on dubiously, he arranged it into a cunning seat which attaches to the table with a solid metal frame. I'd never seen anything like it before. It would be very useful for visiting friends and family, or just for keeping in the car for times when your chosen cafe or restaurant doesn't have high chairs.
Banana Tree Canteen, 412-416 St John Street, Islington, EC1V 4NJ; Tel. 020 7278 7565; www.bananatree.co.uk