Earlier in the month, I was lucky enough to be invited to Banyan Ilkley to try out their own menu and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Let’s just say, I realised I had over-indulged when I was practically waddling back to my car with a belly full of delightful food!
Banyan opened in Ilkley in 2017 and my friends and I were all super excited to have a new food and drink venue in our town! I’ve only ever visited for drinks before a night out and once before for dinner before the new menu launched and I always find it a great atmosphere, especially on a Friday evening. I’ve also visited the Leeds restaurant for drinks a couple of times and it’s a pleasant experience in there also!
Banyan Ilkley source the best available local produce to support the local community. For example, the sausages in their sausage and mash dish are from Lishman’s, an award-winning butchers in Ilkley. You can even drink local beer as many Banyan restaurants around the country use Ilkley brewery as a supplier!
Let’s tuck in…
To start, my friend Bryony and I both ordered a rhubarb gin & tonic. Warner Edwards too – my FAVOURITE. Bryony had hers with elderflower tonic and I paired mine with ginger ale – Fever Tree, of course! We nibbled on their Artisan Mini Loaf & Olives. The bread was served warm with salted butter and balsamic vinegar and it went down an absolute treat! I’m not a huge fan of olives but Bryony assured me they were tasty and a great way to start a meal.
As if that wasn’t enough to start our meal with, we both ordered a starter each. It took us a while to decide what we wanted because the menu is generous and there are so many scrumptious choices! After a lot of head scratching and nail biting, I ordered the Bang Bang Chicken Skewers which came as two chicken skewers drizzled in satay sauce served with crunchy, caramelised peanuts. I was very content with my decision. The portion size was perfect for a starter and it filled me up just the right amount before “the main event.”
Bryony opted for the Panko Crumbed King Prawns. You got a noble portion for this starter! They were Japanese breadcrumbed king prawns, complimented by a lime & red chilli dipping sauce. I would never choose to order any kind of seafood in a restaurant because it isn’t to my taste. However, I did try some of this and was pleasantly surprised! Like myself, Bryony was also happy with her choice so we ordered another G&T and prepared ourselves for even more food.
So while we were scratching our heads trying to decide what we should order for a starter, we completely forgot we had to order our mains too! This decision was even more difficult. Banyan have such an incredible menu with a wide selection of different meals. Whether you fancy something greasy and bad for you or something nutritious and healthy – there is something for everyone! I seem to order the same thing wherever I go to dine out and I almost stepped out of my comfort zone for the sake of this review but my eyes kept wandering back to the burger section of the menu and the lovely waitress had told us how incredible the Banyan Burger was so eventually, I gave in to my temptations and went with my trusted option of a good, juicy burger. The Banyan Burger is their signature burger which is stacked with crispy bacon, wholegrain mustard mayonaise, BBQ sauce, Monterey Jack cheese (super melted, may I add!) and crispy onions. I think it was the crispy onions that won me over in the end… The burger was unbelievable! It was cooked to perfection and melted in my mouth as soon as I took a bite. It was accompanied by chips which were equally as tasty! My photography really doesn’t do this dish justice so you just have to take my word for it and try this burger out at your nearest restaurant!*
After a lot of consideration, Bryony decided to order the Chicken Spirelli pasta dish which was one of the options I was toying with in my mind! I was slightly envious when it arrived at the table because it was presented perfectly and the smell was amazing! This dish came with grilled chicken and pasta spirals bound with julienne of spring vegetables, pine nuts, cream and Grana Padano. This dish is also available for vegetarians or anyone who is gluten-free! This is another excellent thing about Banyan, they’re extremely accommodating to dietary requirements and the menu states clearly whether each dish is suitable for certain diets. The staff are all incredibly friendly at the Ilkley restaurant too and I’m almost certain they would be happy to help with anything that is unclear on the menu!
Once we finished our mains, I was absolutely certain that I didn’t even have any more space in my stomach for any more food but when our friendly waitress came over and asked if we’d like to see the dessert menu, something inside me just couldn’t say no. Bryony and I looked at each other like we knew it was a bad idea but when we read the options, it would have been a crime to say no and I definitely would have regretted it later that evening. Bryony ordered the Banyan S’mores which was toasted marshmallow, fruit compote on top of a double chocolate cookie sandwich. It was served with strawberries and ice cream with a rich but delicious chocolate sauce. I couldn’t take my eyes off it when it arrived at our table and I just couldn’t help but pick a marshmallow off the side… It was incredible! I wouldn’t even hesitate to recommend this dessert to anyone who’s considering a Banyan visit in the near future… My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
I went for the Terry’s Chocolate Orange Brownie. I chose this because I absolutely adore Terry’s Chocolate Orange and I always get one for Christmas so it was a comforting dish for me! It was accompanied by the most delicious and creamy, vanilla ice cream with a refreshing, zingy orange compote which I found was the perfect pairing because the compote helped with how rich the brownie was. It was absolutely divine but I did struggle to finish it, purely because of the sheer amount of food we had already consumed that evening!
I had a very enjoyable evening at Banyan Ilkley. The staff are wonderful, the decor inside is stunning and the whole experience was positive! I can’t recommend this restaurant enough if you live near one, or even if you’re looking for somewhere new to eat and willing to travel! There are restaurants across the country in the following places*:
*Disclaimer: This meal was gifted to me by the Banyan marketing team in exchange for Instagram story content, a post on Instagram and a blog review. All views are my own.