(AUTHOR’S NOTE: This review features the Katipunan Too branch before it burned down in March 2015. This branch has been newly rebuilt. Timestamp: 4 July 2016, 10:09 am.)
One of my itineraries during my jobless period was to have my wisdom teeth removed in order to facilitate having braces in the future. I mentioned in an earlier post that the left side of my jaw was operated on first, followed by the right side a month ago. Fortunately, the wound there had closed and I had the dental sutures removed – which was a rather quick procedure. I then took four jeep rides from the dentist’s clinic (along Congressional Avenue) and walked from the Katipunan-Boni Serrano intersection to reach Banapple. It was a good way to work up an appetite just like I said before, and a perfect reward to cap off two successful dental surgeries.
Banapple actually has two locations along Katipunan Avenue – the one I went to was the second branch (they call it Katipunan Too), and their original store is located right across the street. They were located at a place that isn’t readily accessible to most public transportation – which was actually a plus in my opinion. There’s no need to fret though, as they have opened up branches in Ayala Triangle Gardens, SM North EDSA (their most recent branch), Il Terrazzo Mall in Tomas Morato, and along Connecticut Street in San Juan. Orange and other pastel hues on the wall greet my eyes as soon as I entered, giving off a bright and lively atmosphere. But what caught my attention were the tables. Each had a different design made up of glass marbles in different colors arranged into a mosaic-like pattern; I didn’t realize they were glass marbles until I looked closely. Surprisingly, the service was fast considering that I arrived at 11:30 in the morning (typically a busy time for restaurants) – though it’s best to head over here early as people start flocking in at 12:00 noon.
I ordered a drink to start things off. Since there was a bit of pain after the sutures were removed (albeit tolerable), I got their Dark Chocolate Smoothie (P115). The dentist joked that a glass of something cold can easily get rid of the pain, and this was perfect for the job. The texture was really thick, just how a smoothie should be. However, there wasn’t much “dark” flavor when I first tasted it – it was more “chocolate” than “dark”. I added water to thin down the drink to a more liquid consistency, which worked to my advantage. The dark chocolate taste became more pronounced. Apparently, it was subtle due to the smoothie being frozen at first – mixing it using a straw was difficult so I had to use a knife (no joke).
Being a first-timer at Banapple, I tried out their Bacon Fried Chicken Steaks with Milk’Shroom Gravy (P190). It consisted of three breaded and fried chicken fillets with milk and mushroom gravy, topped with bacon flakes and served with garlic rice and corn relish on the side. Its fragrant smell caught my attention as soon as it was served. I was hooked upon tasting it; allow me to express it this way, but THIS IS THE EPITOME OF COMFORT FOOD! I originally considered their Chicken Breast Parmigiano, but this wasn’t bad for a start. In fact, I didn’t regret it as this was one of the best chicken dishes I’ve eaten so far, hands down. The chicken is tender enough to be cut with a spoon, with the gravy complementing its flavor. The corn relish on the side adds texture, and the bacon reinforces the dish’s hearty taste. Bacon is indeed the perennial comfort food. As much as I appreciated the dish, I only had one question about it: where are the mushrooms? I was expecting chunks of it in the gravy, but in vain. I don’t know, but I can only posit that they used cream of mushroom soup as the gravy’s base. Fortunately, I still had the dark chocolate smoothie (more of a drink now, since the ice has melted) from earlier and it washed away the dish’s overwhelming taste in my mouth.
Of course, a trip to Banapple wouldn’t be complete without trying their signature cakes – something they are known for. They have a wide selection of pies and cheesecakes, but it was their Snicker Fudge Chesecake (P120 / slice) that capped off my meal. It had crushed Oreo cookies as a base (traditional cheesecakes use crushed Graham crackers) and was topped with a thick layer of chocolate fudge and chopped pecans. It had a thick layer of cream cheese in the middle that served as a neutralizer. The cake isn’t overwhelming as the sweetness of the Oreo base and chocolate topping is balanced out by the cream cheese’s tartness. I would personally suggest eating this dessert in “halves”: the top half consisting of the chocolate fudge, pecans, and the cream cheese, and the bottom half comprised of the Oreo crust, cheese, and the chocolate syrup they drizzle on the side.
All in all, I enjoyed my lunch at Banapple owing it largely to the fact that I no longer had dental sutures, thus, I was able to eat properly. Now that I was full, I planned to walk from there to the St. Pio Shrine in Libis (beside Eastwood City) to give thanks for a fast recovery. Besides, long walks also help the food go down properly. I left Banapple at 12:50 in the afternoon and was surprised as soon as I stepped out. The traffic along Katipunan Avenue was at a snail’s pace, extending up to the Libis area. Apparently, Ateneo was racked by a bomb threat; thus, evacuation procedures were conducted and the campus was thoroughly searched (thankfully, no explosives were found).