Banana Pasta is basically nothing more than a streetside pasta joint with a contemporary, cheery setting that will easily attract Sukhumvit pedestrians. Yet it doesn't mean that this 36-seater outlet, opened four months ago, is not worth recommending. The place is owned and run by a young Thai woman who thinks making delicious pasta dishes is kluay kluay (very easy) - now you get where the restaurant's name came from ('kluay' also means 'banana' in Thai).
The restaurant is decked out in a contemporary modern style.
Situated right on one of the busiest traffic spots of main Sukhumvit Road, Banana Pasta is housed in a brand new, glass-facade unit that allows diners a view of the strip briskly animated by international commuters, some of whom have become the restaurant's regulars.
On the day that I visited, the menu came in a form of delivery flyers. It featured quite a decent selection of the Italian noodle and pizza as well as soups, salads and other side items. Customers can also create their meal with a choice of pizza and pasta, soup or salad and drink for 189-299 baht.
For pasta, you can mix and match your preferred noodles, from spaghetti, fettucini and penne, to your favourite kind of sauce and preparation. From as many as 11 options, we passed the likes of arrabbiata with bacon, carbonara and lasagna and ordered spaghetti beef bolognese (149 baht) and were very satisfied with the hefty topping, a subtle combination of aromatic minced beef, herbs and tomato puree.
The gooey and yummy spinach gratin.
Equally pleasant was spaghetti with Thai anchovy (139 baht), of which the al dente noodle was nicely tossed with pla khem and various Thai herbs and spices to create a spicy and irresistibly flavourful dish.
Less impressive, however, was fettucini with pesto and salmon (159 baht). Though this basil-based dish later proved quite enjoyable in taste, it was peculiarly creamy and lacked the rich and oily flavour of pine nuts, while the chunks of cooked salmon didn't quite fit.
From eight choices of pizza, the restaurant staff recommended pizza with tuna, ham and mushroom (159 baht for a small order). We tried it and later realised why the place wasn't named Banana Pizza. Besides the fact that its variety of pizza is fewer and less interesting than that of pasta, the flavour, too, couldn't compare. The thin-crust pizza is a decent stomach-filler, but not an ideal choice for those with discerning tastebuds.
However, we found great joy with the restaurant's homemade tomato soup (79 baht) which came in a generous portion and was smooth and tasty with a slight hint of cream. Also addictively scrumptious was spinach gratin (119 baht) which presented aromatic gooey cheese on top of the well-cooked vegetables.
The restaurant had two choices of desserts - caramel custard (39 baht) and panna cotta (49 baht) - which both tasted fine.
There was insufficient service staff on the evening that we visited.
The must-order spaghetti beef bolognese.