One of Little Rock’s longest running food trucks has parked the vehicle in favor of a more permanent location. Banana Leaf, a four-year veteran of the food truck scene, is now up and running in a small kitchen inside the Simmons Bank building in downtown Little Rock.
“We were planning on shutting the truck down anyway for the winter,” said Banana Leaf’s Shan Peth. “But then we found out about this spot and decided it would be a good place to keep it going.”
Banana Leaf now occupies the spaces once manned by Sufficient Grounds, next to Subway on the south side of the building. The new restaurant area is small; only three tables are available, and the menu board only offers six or seven choices on any given day.
But don’t let that keep you away. Banana Leaf has a well-earned reputation for serving up excellent Indian cuisine, and what I tasted showed Peth and his wife, Purni Muthaian, haven’t missed a beat in the new space. Newcomers to Indian cuisine should definitely get the chicken biryani, a mixed rice dish with chunks of juicy dark meat and an unmistakable bouquet of Indian spices. I also sampled the palek paneer, a traditional dish of spinach and cheese curds, and the chicken tikka masala, which is one of the more popular Indian dishes around. Both were very well made, lightly spiced and cooked perfectly. Speaking of spice, all of Banana Leaf’s dishes can be adjusted for heat upon request. All meals are served in to-go containers and are usually ready just a few minutes after ordering.
As for the truck, you can expect to see it back after the winter. Peth tells me it was never the plan to keep the truck closed permanently, and once the weather warms up, it will be back at its usual spot on Van Buren Road just north of Markham. For now, Banana Leaf will be open Monday through Friday at the Simmons Bank location from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.