Reviewed by Regi Su
Tucked away just off Bondi's main street lies Banana Blossom salads, a lunchtime salad bar. The casual dining restaurant has quite a laid back, relaxed atmosphere, yet there's a buzz from the staff, a hospitality and care for the job that comes across and adds great warmth. While the seating; al fresco, inside or in the back courtyard is intimate, the restaurant feels quite open and spacious with mirrors and light surfaces.
Banana Blossom Salads is the brainchild of duo, Nat and Ben, who felt inspired by authentic Asian tastes to design fresh, fast and filling meals at reasonable prices. They've been a real success across the Northern Beaches and now they've expanded their horizons to the great blue of Bondi.
Beyond the fairy bread beach and the bustle of the promenade, Banana Blossoms Salads is a hidden gem. Open lunchtimes, they offer a full and varied menu, boasting flavours for everyone's taste, in portion sizes that'll leave you satisfied. They pride themselves in sourcing fresh organic produce and this commitment to health and well-being actually comes through in the salads themselves. While the dressings are an excellent lift, the flavour of each ingredient is wholesome and fresh, which is really satisfying.
My partner and I tried the Coconut Chicken Crispy Egg Noodle and the Tokyo Classic Chicken. What we both experienced was a fusion of flavours with an Asian twist. Their salads are very light and well balanced; sweet and savoury, fruit and greens, carbs and protein. A variety of textures to tantalise, like the slippery soba noodles in the Tokyo Classic, or the fried crunchy noodles in the Coconut Chicken. Temperature-wise, there's the warm chicken with sticky sweet tamarind dressing and the cool crunch of salad greens. There's such a variety of salad greens. Plenty of times I've had a salad that bulked up on mixed lettuce, but these guys slip in tastes for the whole palette, like green papaya, avocado and a hint of mint. I would go so far as to say that the dressing was the best part, because it doesn't overpower, it compliments and lifts the ingredients in the bowl.
Banana Blossom Salads only offer salads and rice paper rolls on their menu. They aren't "design your own" and I think that's alright because there's such a variety on their menu and their salad combinations are well considered anyway. After pairing my meal with cold pressed juice, I felt energized and virtuous. I'd like to come back to try something different.