Café Review: Banana Tree
Originating from Seoul, Korea, dessert boutique Banana Tree has finally set foot in Singapore, its first international outpost. Yet another café for food Instagrammers and café hoppers to chance upon, this hidden gem along Keong Saik Road was opened by pretty Korean Molly Hong, 29, in April 2015, who brought the franchise here. Within a month, it garnered more than 800 likes on Facebook and draws in all ages, from the office crowd to families with its unique café concept.
Banana Tree isn’t just your typical minimalist café popping up on our island. Staying true to its namesake, Banana Tree has a splash of banana yellow all around, from the chairs to yellow tiled wall with banana slices painted on. A section of the café has a glass ceiling, allowing sunlight to brighten up the place.
However, a glass ceiling isn’t the only thing that illuminates. Customers are greeted with great enthusiasm by all six staff as soon as they enter. But besides the cheerful décor and staff, how does this small establishment stand out from the other cafés at the gentrified Keong Saik Road, once infamous for its many brothels?
It only takes a minute to scan through the seven main desserts in the menu, which includes its signature Flower Pot Pudding, famous Som Som Latte, and Red Bean Pot Bing Soo.
The Flower Pot Pudding ($6.50) is a work of art that comes in your choice of three different flavors – banana, espresso or strawberry. We opted for strawberry over the signature banana variant as our drink (we’ll get to it soon) was already made with banana. The strawberry pudding with freshly made cream and bits of cake is served in a flowerpot and layered over with a generous serving of crushed Oreo as faux soil.
Embellished with an artificial flower, you have to use the spade spoons to dig into this pot of goodness. However, despite its great presentation, the pudding itself isn’t firm enough and felt like a fluffy mousse. The strawberry flavor is also too subtle for us and with no strawberry chunks to chew on, the consistency of the pudding is ordinary.
Most visitors buy the Som Som Latte ($6.50) to accompany the Flower Pot Pudding. This is truly the most eye-catching latte you’ll ever find because of the cotton candy swirl,` adorned with a marshmallow and tiny fork.
One look at it and you may think “diabetes”, but the cotton candy together with the banana puree and espresso is actually a well-balanced combination which is surprisingly not cloying. However, the java isn’t very strong, which may disappoint caffeine junkies.
We’re astonished when the Red Bean Pot Bing Soo ($12.50) arrives, because it’s enormous! Filled with shaved ice, it’s layered with red beans and almonds and topped with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream before being liberally dusted with multi-grain powder, a recent addition to the recipe.
The combination is a culinary masterpiece, intertwining flavor and texture with every scoop. The only downside is that by the time you devour ¼ of the large pot, you’ll only be left with ice slurry.
The Banana Café is an unconventional idea and we love the unique presentation of each dish. If you want something different to grab eyes on your Instagram feed, you know where to go! However, avoid the 1pm to 4pm peak hour or you’ll have to wait in line for a seat in the usually crowded café.
Tell us what you thought of the café and which café you want us to review next!
Address: 26 Keong Saik Road Singapore 089133
Opening Hours: Tue – Sat: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Sun: 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm (closed on Mondays)
Photos courtesy of Bryan Chua