It’s a mid-week luch time, freezing cold and pouring with rain but yet the Banyan Bar and Kitchen in Ilkley’s Brook Street is packed to capacity and it’s little wonder.

The clientele range from ladies who lunch,  those seeking a quick, quality business lunch, mums and grans with the odd toddler in tow, out for a well earned break to work colleagues out for a celebration meal.

Customer care at Banyan is some of the best I have experienced for a very long time. Our wet umbrellas are taken to dry and our server was introduced to us. Nothing was too much trouble and by the end of the meal she had almost become a friend.

We started with one of their inspired cocktails, as anyone visiting Banyan, should do. I opted for the Ginger and Pineapple Mai Tail a mix of Sailor Jerry rum, Cointreau, ginger, pineapple and passionfruit syrup, lime and almond. I can only describe it as a sumptuous way to enjoy rum. It was fruity but smooth and the ginger gave it a real kick.

My colleague’s  Banana Colada was something to capture the senses with rum shaken with coconut liqueur, lime and milk and pineapple juice it was bound together with an intoxicating banana foam – a very unusual cocktail but the flavours all came through in the taste resulting in a very yummy cocktail.

For starters I went for the Char Siu Belly Pork Skewers.  Belly Pork in the early 20th century was a cut of pork that was cheap and cheerful and had to be cooked very slowly to be enjoyed – it was a favourite with my great-gran who maintained it was one of the best cuts of pork meat.

Not a lover of overly spiced things our server reassured me it was not overly spiced, but just coated in a lovely sticky Peeking sauce. And she was right. The meat just was so tender it fell off the skewers and the portion was more than ample.

The Deep Fried Brie Wedges served with a caramelized chutney were an all out hit with my colleague. One of her favourite starters she admits it’s not very often that restaurants get it right – but this time it was perfect. It was cooked as it was meant to be runny  on the outside and firmer in the middle and onion chutney was just the right accompaniment to it.

For main course she went for the Chicken Fauta Wrap from the sandwich menu which came with a portion of house fries. The wrap contained an ample porition of Chargrilled Chicken Breast and it came with Monterrey Jack cheese, jalapenos, guacamole, tomato salsa and sour cream. A really tasty fushion of flavours, it was not overly spicey and no ingredient overpowered the other. In fact you could taste every different one.

I chose the Banyan Burger. The meat was tender and succulent and just melted in your mouth. It came with Monterrey Jack Cheese and crispy bacon but unfortunately the bacon was cold and the cheese rather rubbery.

We shared the Market Salad, which was a treat in itself, and again the portion was more than ample plus the best  onion rings we have ever tasted. They were light, hot and their batter was just so crispy.

For desserts we chose from the Banyan Gelateria menu. My ice cream sundae was very disappointing. It was not good value and for some reason the three flavours I chose came as two scoops of vanilla and it was bereft of some of the trimmings.

My colleagues Waffle Cones were slightly better but again she was at a loss to discover what the overly frozen gelateria flavours were. Certainly not those she had chosen.

The Banyan Bar and Kitchen is a warm and friendly place with great customer service and a great and reasonably priced menu of food. It’s just those sweet treats that let it down.

Banyan Bar and Kitchen 12-13 Brook Street, Ilkley LS29 8AA.

Tel: 01943 608278.

Open: Mon,Tues,Wed 9.30-12.00 midnight. Thurs,Fri,Sat 9.30-1.00am. Sunday 9.30-12 midnight.

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