Right outside the Canberra Centre; close to the Civic bus interchange. PROFILED BY DE GROOTS MEDIA
Placidly sitting in the bustle of Civic shops, Banana Leaf Restaurant and Cafe embodies the Australian spirit of diversity with a sub-continental twist. With a wide, sweeping glass awning and floor-length windows, Banana Leaf spills out onto the pavement, providing a light and airy atmosphere in the warmer months and acting as a beacon of warmth in the dead of winter. One of the lovely things that distinguishes this laidback establishment is a welcoming aura of authentic Sri Lankan friendliness and hospitality, evident in the smiles on the waiters’ faces and a considerate menu that placates even the fussiest eater.
If you’re on the go, grab a steak sandwich a la Lanka – char-grilled minute steaks infused with cumin and ginger, served with tomato, aubergine and chip potatoes. For an authentic dinner or lunch, try the unusual Dutch-inspired dish lomprisht – a preparation of rice, chicken, fish fricadel and curries, wrapped and baked in a fragrant banana leaf. Or some true-blue Arnhem Land barramundi, grilled with lemon myrtle and bush peppers, served on a bed of sweet potato and macadamia mash. Vegetarians will love string hoppers – gorgeous Sri Lankan rice noodles served on traditional mats with curries. If you’re feeling less adventurous, there’s always a selection of cafe favourites like risotto or fish and chips. Finish up with some watalapam of coconut treacle custard, or a refreshing mango lassi. Whether it’s a quiet coffee and sweet after the theatre, a light brunch with a twist, or your next function, Banana Leaf has something for everyone.