If you follow Malaysian drama, then you might be aware of a recent viral video involving two managers at local banana leaf restaurant chain BananaBro duking it out at one of their outlets – complete with punching, chair throwing, and basically just going… wait for it… bananas!
Well, the saying goes that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, as evidenced by some of the amused comments by netizens stating that they did not even KNOW BananaBro had a branch at that venue. It also piqued my interest, so when the Hubs and I were at IOI City Mall Putrajaya and spotted one of their outlets there, we decided to stop by for lunch lol.
True to its banana leaf theme, the restaurant is decked out in shades of green and yellow paired with white and black. Since it’s the Ramadhan month, the restaurant was quite empty. It still took a long time for our mains to arrive, though.
Their most popular menu item is the RM12.90 Craving Set, which comes with refillable rice, three vegetable dishes and pappadom (fried crackers made from black gram bean flour). You can then choose to add-on (separately priced) meat and non-meat protein options, such as Mutton Varuval, Fried Chicken, Prawn Masala, Gobi Manchurian, Onion Pakora, and more.
Both the Hubs and I initially wanted Maggi goreng but was told that these were not available. Since I’m not a big fan of vegetables and ordering the Craving Set would have been a waste, we ended up just getting white rice and two dishes.
White rice with pappadom. If you’re not ordering the set, 3 pieces cost RM1. They were crispy and salty, great as a snack and to use as a dip with their sauces.
PS: Our rice was served on plastic plates shaped like banana leaves. I think if you order the actual set they serve it on a real banana leaf.
There were four sauces to accompany the rice: dhal (made from lentils), fish curry, chicken curry, and rasam (a sour soup that has tamarind in it). They tasted decent, but not mind blowing.
Despite their fiery red appearance, the squid rings were not at all spicy. They were extremely chewy, even for my standards, and while not unenjoyable, again, was not something to shout about either. There was not much taste to them, so I had to soak the rings in dhal to enhance the flavour and soften the exterior, since the batter was quite hard.
The butter chicken took longer to get to our table. The Hubs was surprised at how small the portion was, but I thought it was fair seeing that it’s RM9.90. This dish fared better than the squid, as the sauce was rich, creamy, and savoury, but it could do with some improvements as the chicken pieces within were hard and dry on the inside.
Washed down the meal with a glass of Mango Lassi, which was sweet and refreshing. This in my opinion was the best of everything we had and if you’re a resto, it’s not exactly great if your drinks trump your food.
In all honesty, the food was not bad. But it was just… okay? Kinda like the service from the floor staff: they basically did what was needed. No smiles, no warmth. I can’t exactly fault them for that, but I think if service had been friendlier, it would have made for a better dining experience. All in all, lackluster. Their prices are quite reasonable, though, considering they are located in a mall, which must have high rental.
BANANABRO (IOI CITY MALL PUTRAJAYA)
LG71 IOI City Mall, 62502 Putrajaya.
Opening hours: 10AM – 10PM
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PS2: All food reviews are paid out of my own pocket unless otherwise stated. Views here are my own and are based on my personal experience. They are not meant to disparage businesses in any way.