March 15, 2013
Since my last visit to Queensland, James and Matt blogged a run-down of new veg*n hotspots on their radar, including The Banana Lounge. While spending the week in Brisbane for work, I squeezed in a lunchtime visit after a morning at GOMA's splendid APT7 exhibition. The Banana Lounge's exterior is a fairly dowdy brown brick building with a few telling yellow flags and stools. Stepping inside I was in familiar vegetarian cafe territory: decorations were cheery, abundant and haphazard; Cat Stevens controlled the stereo for the entire hour.
The menu covers breakfast, lunch, drinks and cake; it's all vegan and gluten-free options are helpfully marked. Savoury cook-ups with mock meats and tofu scrambles are prominent, though of course my eye paused longer over the pancakes, muesli and raw crepes further down the page. Lunch covers the vege classics - a felafel plate, Indian curry plate, burrito and burgers, plus there's customisable sandwiches and sometimes pies in the warmer.
To drink, there's the requisite selection of smoothies, juices, coconut water and organic soft drinks. I was tickled to see iced chai ($4.50) on another menu. This one scored points for not containing aerosol cream but again come across as little more than sweet milk with cinnamon powder. I can be soy-fussy but can't fault the milk and icecream used here.
I was in a burger frame of mind and tried out their 'beef' one ($9.50). The primary ingredients were pretty standard stuff - soft roll, Fry's patty, tomato sauce and mayonnaise - but I appreciated their efforts with the salad. I could barely close my mouth around the burger thanks to the tomato and cucumber chunks within, and I happily dug into the extra lightly dressed leaves on the side.
Much of the menu relies on similar items made elsewhere (bacon, sausages, pies) - ordering the tofu scramble or the pancakes might give a better impression of what the Banana Lounge's chef is really capable of. I'd go back and give 'em a go, though I might leave the big breakfast (at a mega $19.50) for Michael to review next time he's in the sunshine state.
The Banana Lounge has received a positive review on The Bird's Blog but isn't quite what Getting Planted is looking for.
The Banana Lounge
170 Boundary St, West End QLD
(07) 3255 0015
veg meals $4-19.50
Accessibility: Tables are reasonably spaced, most at footpath level with a ramp up to the counter and interior dining. I placed my order and paid at a medium-height counter, then food and drinks were served at the table. I didn't visit the toilets.