Apollo Banana Leaf

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34 Love It
© Britta Jaschinski

A humble BYOB venue providing Tooting with an invigorating blast of Sri Lankan chilli heat.

As if in recognition of the trek from the nearest tube station, Apollo Banana Leaf greets diners with a vision of paradise: soaring mountains and a sparkling waterfall, printed in vivid technicolour over the walls. If that assault on the senses isn’t enough, the high-backed dining chairs are upholstered in crushed red velvet, while disco lights twinkle around the door. But devotees don’t come here for design tips, they come for the food – an authentic rendering of South Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine – and for great value. Though prices have increased, they remain fantastically keen: especially when you factor-in the BYO policy. Spice levels are at authentic Jaffna (north Sri Lankan) levels: a single chilli icon on the menu is to be taken seriously, two plus is for the brave. ‘Short eats’ (street-food snacks) included our soft sambar vadai (a savoury doughnut made with chickpea flour, here steeped in a thin lentil gravy) and a croquette-like mutton roll (with its rich, clove-spiked meat middle). There are also starters, such as crunchy morsels of golden chicken pakoda (not unlike ‘popcorn chicken’). The rich, warmly spiced crab masala – claws and all – is worth getting messy for; chewy, buttery chapati makes the perfect foil.


Venue name: Apollo Banana Leaf
Address: 190 Tooting High Street
SW17 0SF
Opening hours: Lunch served noon-3pm, dinner served 6-10.30pm Mon-Thur. Meals served noon-10.30pm Fri-Sun
Transport: Tube: Tooting Broadway tube
Price: Main courses £3.50-£6.95. Unlicensed. Corkage no charge
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Average User Rating

3.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:6
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:5
  • 1 star:0
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Paul C
Staff Writer

I wasn't a huge fan of Apollo Banana Leaf for a number of reasons.

1. I didn't think the food was great. Having been to Sri Lanka this year, I was expecting something similar to what we experienced there - fresh ingredients and different flavours. I had the Pepper Chicken and it seemed to be creamy warm mayonnaise with a tub of white pepper mixed in.

2. They dropped a full plate of curry down my back and didn't acknowledge or apologise for doing so.

3. It's too small and too hot in there, they definitely could do with some opening windows!

One thing in its' favour is that it's cheap but i'm definitely not inclined to go back.

Tsu S

One of the best curries I've ever eaten.  Really enjoyed it, there are some sensational flavors.  It's a cafe vibe more than a restaurant one, set your expectations accordingly. 


Would not go back. It took us 3 phone calls to book as they clearly didn't want our custom and were in a rush to hang up. Upon arrival we were shocked by the garish flashing Christmas lights and general décor. However, we were still hopeful that the restaurant would redeem itself with its food. Although not terrible, it was distinctly average. On the plus side, reasonably priced and BYOB.

shaun mills

After visiting here a few times now I am yet to be impressed and was served one of the worst curries of my life....it was like warm mayonnaise! There are better in the are so go explore


Went last night with some mates and the food was sensational.The devilled mutton is one of the nicest things I've ever eaten and my vindaloo was full of flavour. Service is very slow though so don't go if in a hurry! Would definitely recommend and will be going back soon.


A strange and brilliant place for a first date! Neither of us had a clue what to order but the lady serving us was really helpful and made lots of good recommendations. We didn't feel rushed at all and they were pretty relaxed about us losing track of time and still sitting there chatting away after they had closed. The prices are amazingly cheap too so its a winner all round!


Recently returned from Sri Lahka, we were looking for the same fresh, light, skilfully spiced dishes we had seen demonstrated to us and eaten on our trip. This was not it. The curries were more Anglo indian in style, heavier, similar sauce across different proteins. Coconut milk was tinned not made from scratch. No detectable rumpa (particular Sri Lankan curry ingredient). To be fair, these were not bad curries, and were great value for money. But they were not the authentic taste of Sri Lanka we were looking for. If you want a cheap curry, come here. £19.65 for two excluding BYO. If you want a genuine Sri Lankan curry, go elsewhere - still looking....


Best Sri Lankan food in the area and there's a lot of choice !!.... Good prices and it's bring your own Beer !!


As always great food, value and more often than not a doggy bag for lunch the next day. Could you ask for more...what BYOB and no corkage... oh go on then. Fabby ! Thank you Apollo Banana Leaf.


Been twice. Unfortunately, dissapointed on both counts. Last visit I had Masala Dosa which is usually a very safe bet in Tooting's South Indian restaurants. However ABL's version was soggy and tasted cheesy? The sambar and coconut chutney was the worst I've ever had. Very disappointing. On a positive note the service is good and the channa masala from my first visit was also good.