The sparse dining options on Nuns’ Island will expand in the coming weeks, as a Thai restaurant with some serious family experience is set to open.
It’ll be called Bananier, and it comes from Vy Nguyen, whose parents (now retired) owned several restaurants in and beyond Montreal — those include Old Montreal’s Pavillion de l’Indochine and L’Escale Bangkok in Saint-Sauveur (both of which they sold in the ‘90s) and Red Thai on St-Laurent.
Nguyen has travelled extensively in Thailand, giving her the chance to study Thai recipes, and her parents are coming out of retirement to help get the restaurant up and running.
“My parents are restaurateurs but deep down we’re a family of cooks, my grandma always cooked, my dad learned from her, he’s an amazing cook.”
The menu will lean towards Thai standards like curries, and a mango salad, but Nguyen says she’ll vary the menu to fit with the seasons.
“We’ll be playing a lot with market vegetables, anything that’s in season. so we’ll be looking to keep traditional dishes on the menu but adding new things like [for example] fried squash with a sweet and sour sauce.”
Bananier will do cocktails too, leaning in to Thai flavours: those drinks will incorporate ingredients like galanga, lime leaves, lemongrass, and coconut juice and milk. Nguyen says they’ll also have private import wines, and that they’re working in importing beers.
The 80-seat space is particularly promising — designer Michel Preté (who worked on night club La Voute) is behind it. A part-woody, part-clean white space will showcase hanging tropical plants and banana trees throughout the room.
Nguyen says she’s hoping the restaurant can fill a gap on Nuns’ Island, which has plenty of residential space, but relatively few restaurants — while brasserie Les Enfants Terribles has a location on the island, many of the other options are more food court fare, serving office workers.
“There’s a couple of restaurants and we felt like there wasn’t a great spot for business lunches, and a good place to have supper at night...people who live on Nuns’ Island were saying we always have to go to Montreal to restaurants, [what’s there] is a bit more fast food.”
Renovations on the space have wrapped up, and the restaurant should be opening in the coming weeks.