The Lovable Banapple

Banapple has been around for quite some time now. They started with a small store along the stretch of Katipunan Ave. in Quezon City (or Q.C.), then eventually transferred to a larger place just across the street, and then expanded to another location in Q.C. and then, just very recently, to a new one in Makati. It’s a classic story of a small guy making it into the big leagues, and it always elates me to hear of such things. This country needs more of these kind of success stories.

We have had a meal at Banapple once before, when they were still just a small store in Katipunan. We also came back on another occasion after that, to buy dessert. However, those were such a long time ago that I can’t even remember what we ordered back then, except for the Banoffee Pie.

As their name implies, which I believe is a combination of two of their specialties – Banoffee and Apple Pie, they are primarily a pastry and cake shop. What drove us to visit them the first time was the news of their tasty desserts (and the fact that my wife is a Banoffee lover), and I would admit that their Banoffee does live up to the hype.

* “Banoffee” is banana and coffee, in case you’re wondering. The two make for a wonderful “bitter-sweet” combination.

Aside from desserts though, they also offer a full menu that’s got everything for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They got soups, salads, sandwiches, pastas and entrees with rice, to cover your every whim.

Just a few weeks ago, we had a chance to try them again, but this time, we went to their branch along Tomas Morato, inside the Il Terrazo – a small, multi-level, open-air mall, filled mostly with restaurants. This branch is rather “cute”, with just a few small tables inside the airconditioned store, and a few more outside, in a semi-“al-fresco” setting along the mall’s terrace. It does feel cramped, but I guess that’s part of the intended appeal, giving the place a European sidewalk cafe feel, except that it’s on the second level of a mall.

We were there for a late Saturday lunch, and so everyone ordered full meals. I went for a “second breakfast” with the Garlic Beef Tapa with Creamed Parsely Eggs. The rest of the group had the Hickory Smoked Barbecued Country Ribs, the Breaded Fillet of Cream Dory (not pictured in this article), and the Grandma’s Corn Chowder for our little toddler.

Grandma’s Corn Chowder
Garlic Beef Tapa with Creamed Parsley Eggs
Hickory Smoked Barbecued Country Ribs

Despite the Beef Tapa being advertised as “tender” on the menu, it wasn’t really as tender as I expected it to be, although it was still “chewable” without too much of a challenge, and was not in any way “rubbery”. Taste-wise I had no complaints. The Tapa did have a delightful garlic note, and the eggs were as creamy as I wanted them to be.

I also took a bite of the Ribs, and whatever tenderness I didn’t find in the Tapa, I found it in this dish – with a vengeance. The meat was very tender, it would almost separate from the bone just by you looking at it. I just found the flavor of the sauce a bit too overpowering though, almost saturating my mouth with just one bite. The sweetness of the sauce, in particular, was a bit too strong. I don’t have a sweet tooth, but my wife does, and even she felt it tasted too sweet.

I also took a piece of the Cream Dory fillet, which came with a honey, thyme and mustard sauce. The fish was very nicely breaded and fried to a very nice crisp, although the sauce that came with it is a bit of a hit-or-miss. It depends on whether you like the taste of mustard or not (mustard is an acquired taste, after all). The person who ordered the dish found the mustard too overpowering, but I found it perfectly okay (I like mustard by the way).

I also stole a spoonful of my son’s corn chowder, and I found that it had an abundance of bacon bits, along with the corn and potatoes. I just found the taste a little too salty though, which I guess is the outcome of the abundance of bacon.

We then had the Snicker Fudge Cheesecake for desert, and as to be expected from their cakes, it was impeccable.

If you’re looking for a wonderful dessert place, then it’s hard to go wrong with Banapple. As for entree’s though, the story might be slightly different. If there’s one common thing among the dishes that we had that day, then it’s that some flavors were a bit too strong. I don’t know if it was just an aberration on this branch, or if that’s how they really cook those dishes (though I can’t remember leaving with that feeling the first time we tried their food). However, preference for flavors is a very subjective thing. What didn’t work for us, might work very well for others. One thing is for sure though. You can’t fault them for scrimping on ingredients, or cutting corners.

Their trademark fancy tables.

* We had lunch here last March 2011. All photos taken with Olympus E420 and Zuiko 14-54mm f2.8-3.5.

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