This post is in collaboration with Chilli Banana
Maybe it’s just me, but I think I make too many assumptions about what I can and can’t eat being gluten free.
Well, one of the things I for some reason thought was out of the question, was Thai food. Perhaps it’s because the few Thai restaurants I’ve been to were a buffet scenario, or served by mum’s Thai friend full of egg noodles and soy sauce.
Well, thankfully, Chilli Banana’s blogger dinner was a bit of an education. I got to taste some incredible gluten free Thai food and had my eyes opened to how it’s not all about Pad Thai…
Chilli Banana has several branches through the North West, but the one I visited was in Liverpool’s Lark Lane. I was invited by Pink Media, and once assured that there would be something suitable for me to eat, I was really excited to meet some new faces and try some delicious food.
After a bit of networking and some welcome cocktails (turns out prosecco and mint is fit!), we were welcomed by the owner Mike, who gave us a bit of an overview of the restaurant and its history, particularly the culinary background of the founder, May.
Chilli Banana is out to deliver the message that Thai food isn’t just green curries and pad thai (although I’m pretty sure they would absolutely nail that too!). It’s a real family oriented business – May’s nephew Mang runs the kitchen, with his mother supporting as Chilli Banana Liverpool’s sous chef. It’s clear that there’s a lot of passion thrown into the restaurant – these people care deeply about the food they serve and the experience it gives you.
We were first served with some “Thai canapes” – I’m putting it in inverted commas because if you get the amount we got, you’ll already be full. I’m pretty sure this was the night the term food baby was invented for!
Can not believe how full I still am after last nights event! No seriously… I haven’t even had lunch today I’m still that full, no lie! Thank you so much to @chillibananaliverpool May, Mike, and the girls at @pinkmedialtd for inviting us… blog will be up this weekend 🌶🍌 #TheLiverpoolFoodie #FoodBlogger #Food #FoodPorn #Foodie #Foodgasm #foodlover #Foodstagram #Liverpool #Travel #foodphotography #goodfood #foodieslife #foodography #omnomnom #foodblog #Liverpooleats #Liverpoolfood #LiverpoolFoodBlogger #foodaholic #foodinsta #foodgram #foodheaven #foodlovers • • • #thai #notjustgreencurry #Streetfood
A post shared by Chris Grundy (@the_liverpool_foodie) on Jul 6, 2018 at 10:02am PDT
A lot of these canapes came out with little gluten free stickers (I do love a little sticker!) and myself and Chris from The Liverpool Foodie, got stuck into a feast of Satay Gai (chicken satay skewers), Gung Pow (prawn skewers), Tod Man Pla (Thai fishcakes) and Satay Het (marinated shiitake mushroom skewers). Luckily Mike helped us out a little bit, we’re not that greedy! That being said, I could happily scoff those fishcakes and nothing else for the rest of my life.
Next was Khao Soy, a fiery chilli, noodle broth beautifully presented in a carved out coconut shell – this was a beautiful blend of flavours, with chicken, shallots, lime and ground chilli oil. That being said, I’m a bit of a wuss with spice, so the fiery kick combines with already feeling quite full was a bit too much for me!
We then had a cooking demonstration from the owner May, who put together a dish from her Chilli Banana Recipe book. She tossed together fried salmon, chilli and ginger to create a delicious Thai salad, as well as a vegetarian version with fried tofu (I stayed away from that one as it was coated in flour)
We also got a little horticultural lesson as she passed around sprigs of what looked at first to be normal basil, but when you crushed it released a gorgeous aniseed scent and taste.
Once the demonstration was over, we got to dig into the salads – this thing looked innocent but had a fiery kick when you got to the oil at the bottom – so flavoursome!
For my main, I was served a beautifully aromatic Gaeng Ped Gung Sapporot, a king prawn red pineapple curry with lychee and sweet basil, served with jasmine rice. Needless to say at this point I couldn’t finish, so the leftovers came home with me in a doggy bag! (One thing to note, if you end up with a doggy bag from your Chilli Banana experience, the curry is DEFINITELY spicier reheated the next day – so good!)
But hey, it’s scientific fact you have a separate dessert stomach right? Well, mine failed me, but I had a good go at the gluten free option which was a mango and passion fruit Eton Mess. This is not something I’d normally have gone for not being a massive mango fan, but it really was absolutely delicious.
The evening was finished off with a closing speech from Mike, and we all parted ways with a signed copy of May’s recipe book – I’m definitely going to have a go at recreating some of the incredible dishes.
So, final thoughts? I think there must be at least two-thirds of the menu that can be made gluten free, and the evening was certainly an eye-opener! Most of the dishes were options I wouldn’t necessarily have gone for on my own – it just goes to show Thai food really is more than simple stir fries! It’s fresh, flavoursome and adventurous – I highly recommend you pay Chilli Banana a visit, I know I’ll be returning for more!
Thank you so much to Mike, May and everyone at Chilli Banana, and of course the ladies at Pink Media for the invite!
Wanting a feast of gluten free thai food in Liverpool?
2 LARK LANE, SEFTON PARK,
LIVERPOOL, L17 8US
I was invited to Chilli Banana as their guest for the purposes of this review,