EATING OUT@ Banana Guest House - a well kept secret in Kiyovu

Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the name. Tucked behind Banana Motel is a restaurant that has taste, character and class.

Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the name. Tucked behind Banana Motel is a restaurant that has taste, character and class.

When you visit, ask the charming owner how the name came about. There is a cute story behind it. The décor is simple African with a modern touch.

The earthy colours are warm and welcoming. So is the maitre d’hôtel who shyly welcomes you and ushers you to your preferred seating.

In all, the ambience is great and the service is excellent; perfect place for a first date, especially if your aim is to impress.

I took along a couple of my colleagues and for some, it was their second and even third visit. When our drinks were served by the same friendly waiter who ushered us in, he then introduces us to the Chef who I am told is Belgian - an animated one at that.

He patiently reads us the menu, in French, and schools us on what makes up each dish. It doesn’t matter that half of us don’t understand the language.

The ordeal of ordering my meal in “la langue de Molière” reminded me that my high school French is still intact. We finally opt for three different dishes. Read on.

The appetizers were simple. Garlic lovers, you must try the local mushroom served on perfectly crunchy toast. Fried with onion, generous amounts of garlic and a dash of parsley, you will enjoy this meal and also take comfort in the fact that the abundance of garlic will do your heart some good.

The tomato soup was reminiscent of my mum’s comfort food that nurtured me when I was growing up, back then, on cold wintry Wisconsin nights.

My dinner partners raved on about how heavenly the mushroom soup tasted. I didn’t try it since I figured it would have been too much mushroom to handle in one evening. Les 3 bruxelloises is a meat lover’s paradise.

Made up of white and blood sausage (boudin in French), it comes served on a bed of apple compote with fried potatoes.

Spoil yourself and especially your palette by dipping the sausage in some mustard which is readily available on the side.

The wonderful thing about Banana Guest House is the diversity of their meals. The chicken “mouambe” is a typical African dish - chicken cooked in peanut sauce.

I have tasted this meal on several occasions elsewhere, and oftentimes, the peanut sauce overpowers the taste of the chicken.

Banana’s “mouambe” is just perfect, enough peanut sauce for you to taste the chicken. Careful, this is a heavy meal so you may want to share it.

The fish “Capitaine” was served with a maracuja sauce and ratatouille as the side dish – a delicious mélange of eggplant, tomato and onion.

I like my fish simple and unadorned – the most I will go for is drops of fresh lemon juice and salt. However, those with a liking for sweet and sour dishes, this one is for you. My favorite part of any meal is the dessert.

If I had my way, I would start with dessert and move down to the plat de resistance and finish off with an appetizer. I say this because for me, a good chef’s cooking skills lie in his/her ability to prepare an excellent dessert.

I take the following saying very literally - the proof is in the pudding!The Crepe Suzette, according to one dining partner is the “star” dessert at this restaurant. “Not until you try the Tiramisu” retorts the other partner.

Suzette is “flambéed” in Grand Marnier and orange sauce. A delight to the taste buds if you have a sweet tooth. Fret not, you will not get intoxicated on the Grand Marnier, the process of the flambé eliminates all the alcohol.

Personally, this dessert was too sweet for my palette so I was more than happy to find solace in the lightly crusted and not-too-sweet Tarte aux Pommes (apple pie) that tasted divine with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. Warning!

The menu changes with the mood of the Chef so you may not find some of the dishes I have mentioned above. I will have to return for their Tiramisu. Who do you take to Banana Guest house?

If you were reading this article attentively, you would know. I make mention of it above. Pass by the bank and get lots of cash, their pricing is on the high end. Here’s my trick if you don’t want to spend a fortune – swing by for their cappuccino and supposedly the best tiramisu in town and call it a coffee date!! That way, the ugly claws of the credit crunch will not scratch as much.

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