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CLOSED: The Banana Lounge

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 15 reviews )


Contact 07-3255-0015

170 Boundary St, West End, Brisbane, Queensland, 4101

Vegan cafe owned and operated by vegans. Menu includes hot breakfast food, burgers, burritos, platters (Mexican, Middle Eastern, Indian), cake, smoothies, juices, locally roasted organic coffee with choice of soy, almond, oat, or rice milk. Reported closed to HappyCow.

Category: Vegan, International, Western, Juice bar, Bakery, Australian

Reviews (15)

First Review by pitty

Most awful experience - Edit

I did a job trial here and let me just say - it was completely and utterly horrible. The owner is the most obnoxious and disagreeable person I've met in my entire life (which is a bit of an understatement.) It took an excessive amount of time for the orders to be delivered, many were forgotten and honestly, I cannot get my head around how unlikable and distasteful this woman was. She made an effort to make me feel as though I was the stupidest scum on Earth and it was exhausting to even bother with me. I thought that I might have been overexaggerating slightly until another staff member told me something which confirmed that somehow, this woman actually thinks it is acceptable to treat people in this way. It was my first ever job experience and I don't think it could have gone worse. I'm only 15 and know nothing about the hospitality business, but I found no encouragement or teachings from the owner, who treated the other staff in a similarly pathetic way as me. If only I could give it less than 2 in the rating.

Cons: forgotten orders, horrible management, rudeness

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A genuinely bad experience - Edit

Like many other reviewers here I have given this place multiple chances, I went when they first opened and the food was terrible, and I mean terrible, I figured it was teething problems, waited and few months and went back with a non-veg friend, it was an embarrassing experience.
Again the food was just awful, soggy barely cooked chips, a burger that consisted of a frys patty, a slice of tomato and some lettuce, average coffee and a rock hard cake that tasted like fridge. Not to mention how long it took for the food to come out.
I tried a third time with my partner, we went to the breakfast buffet, the only thing I considered edible was the fruit salad, watery yellow scrambled tofu, unseasoned mushrooms and heated through fake meats does not make a very appetising breakfast.
I vowed never to return, but after seeing some good reviews and reading that they had a new menu, with a lot of choices I decided to give it anther shot. I'm really sorry to say this but again it was such a dissapointing experience, if this wasnt a vegan cafe I never would have gone back so many times but I just really wanted them to be good.
So we've established that the food is bad, but even worse is the owner. I have honestly never met a person who was less suited to customer service. On all four occassions she was incredibly rude, she is horrible to her staff, and openly makes fun of customers. The poor staff appear traumatised, it is a lovely looking restaurant but the whole vibe is just awful. The vegan community in brissie is pretty small and after hearing a few 'horror stories' from people that have worked here I just don't want to support the banana lounge (even if the food was any good). I only gave the banana lounge 2 cows cause happy cow wont let me give any less. Honestly, dont waste you're time.

Pros: Vegan, Good Location

Cons: Bland Food, Nasty Owner, Average Coffees

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Love it! - Edit

Finally somewhere good that is vegan in the West End! This place ROCKS!! I love the food, the coffee, the cake....I love it all! So happy to eat somewhere all vegan, thank you Banana Lounge for giving me the opportunity!

Pros: Great menu, tasty food, nice ambience

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3 strikes! Out!! - Edit

I have been here 3 times now, and I won't be going back. Again I have to agree with previous posts. The owner is like a dark storm cloud hovering over this place. She is SO RUDE to her staff and off hand with her customers!

Nobody should be made to feel belittled by their boss. And the food never gets above ok/good. Most dishes need seasoning/flavour adding to them and the fries were laughable. We added the fries as a side to our burritos,and were shocked that we got pale, limp oven fries.

The cafe is charming enough in it's layout, but the whole atmosphere is ruined by the owner glaring at her staff and making sarcastic comments to them all the time.

This is a shame, vegan restaurants must be treasured, but this is a bad advert for them.

Cheer up, be friendly or get out of the hospitality business!!
Updated from previous review on Saturday October 12, 2013

Pros: Interior, Outdoor seating, Fully vegan

Cons: Owner, How owner treats her staff, How owner treats her customers

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Really Great - Edit

I had the buffet and for $20, we got all we could eat of tomatoes, mushrooms, beans, scrambled tofu, pancakes and a variety of breads. The food was tasty, the coffee great and the staff were very friendly and helpful.

Pros: Great food, Great value, Friendly

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Good atmosphere, horrid service - Edit

I went here upon recommendation of a friend - I found the cafe to be cute, Eco friendly, laid back and welcoming. Pity the same couldn't be said about the staff! I found the older lady (owner?) to be pretentious and rude to both me and her staff. The food tasted good but wasn't exactly restaurant faire - more like stuff bought from a supermarket like veggie bacon etc. Obviously not their own cooking, but made from bits bought elsewhere. I watched the staff while I waited for my take-away and was blown away by the lady with her nose in the air. Te poor wait staff were very quiet around her. I asked what the eta would be and she merely laughed and said, "gee, I don't know!" then looked around at her staff expecting them to laugh too. Service put me right off. Will not be going back. Such a disappointment.

Pros: Atmosphere, Sustainable furniture

Cons: Service, Basic food

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My impressions - Edit

Okay, I've eaten at the Banana Lounge twice. Once was when it was fairly new and the other was just this week. On the positive, this cafe is really nicely set out. It's obvious work has gone into its atmosphere and making people comfortable.

I did feel the food might need a little bit of work but perhaps as the cafe is new, this is something they could work on. At the moment, the menu feels a bit disjointed. They are going heavily down the mexican path but there are actual mexican places at west end who can do vegan well, so perhaps this isn't the best idea.

The coffee is good and the choice of various non animal milks is great. Service was fine when i was there. I guess the food feels a bit ''home made' and like something you'd wack together yourself and not something you'd eat out. I would definitely urge them to abandon the scrambled tofu they are serving - it's just yellow tofu with absolutely no flavour at all, with lots of water. There are some great other recipes out there. Even a non vegan place down the road (atomica) does an amazing scrambled tofu!

I think brisbane vegans have been spoilt in recent years with quite a few options and have also travelled enough to see great options available in places like NYC (Blossom) or even Sydney (Apt cafe or the fantastic Rubyfruit cafe in the Blue Mountains). So cafes that cater to this market need to have a good game.

So my hopefully constructive advice would be, keep up the good work on the coffee/service front and have a look at some of the great examples of vegan cafe food that are being offered at other places. Maybe get in a professional vegan chef to consult? I think with a bit of tweaking, this could be really good.

Updated from previous review on Wednesday May 08, 2013

Updated from previous review on Wednesday May 08, 2013

Updated from previous review on Thursday May 09, 2013

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Always Closed - Edit

We've tried to go 3 or 4 times and it's always closed. Trading hours are far from convenient. Double check the hours before you go.

Pros: May be good

Cons: Closed everytime we try to go

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Really disappointed - Edit

I wish I could say good things about this place, but it was just terrible. Over priced and very ordinary food. The sort you'd pull together for a quick lunch from your fridge. The worst thing though was the way the owner was treating her staff. I can't support a business when I can see that the staff are not being treated well. I won't be going back.

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PANTS!!!!!!!!! - Edit

I went 2 dis place on reccondation of a friend as ive recently given up eating meat , I only wanted a small meal but was told its buffet only which is $20 , I only wanted a light meal I was told by a rude woman I could have cake, Lucky me , The young girl I was dealing with was very nice , although the older lady wasnt , come 2 think of it ive never seen a staff member so openly degraded infront of a customer before , unless it was some kind of joke I didnt get it ? she seemed 2 think it was funny. I had my cake and left , The End...................

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not happy - Edit

This place is horrible, we ordered two burgers and received our two burgers, however we only received one chickpea patty which was cut in half for the both of us... and we paid for two and they seemed to think nothing of it... so we complained and they gave us a few free falafels after we had to complain

this is not a good way to get people into healthy eating this way. Maybe they are having a hard time financially but still this is very wrong

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warm atmosphere - Edit

Upon first visit, the cafe was spacious by comparison. The staff are lovely, the menu isn't set but the current rendering serves a variety of dishes as tasty as its non vegan counterparts. That being said, the food wasn't so mouthwateringly delicious that I'd bring non vegans on that basis, perhaps only the novelty of dairy/ meat free food would tempt their intrigue. I do, however, plan on returning regularly for a solid VLT.
Updated from previous review on Friday March 01, 2013

Pros: friendly staff, Good food. , Decent menu

Cons: a little pricey

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Friendly staff great selection of vegan food - Edit

Great place to visit! I ate here two days in a row when in Brisbane, I really enjoyed my vegan iced coffee! I also had a burrito which was delicious, I will have to go back to try their vegan breakfast menu!

Pros: Friendly, Cheap, Tasty

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Needs some work - Edit

I have to say that after reading the review above I almost entirely agree, I was actually shocked when we were served frozen spinach. I have had much better, and far tastier breakfasts at omni places. I held such high hopes for the banana lounge, and was really excited to have a vegan cafe opening up close by. I really hope that it will improve with time. I first went for lunch with a friend and ordered a burger and chips, the burger was boring, it was a plain patty with a bit of tomato and lettuce, really nothing exciting and it definitely did not showcase how awesome and tasty vegan food can be, the chips were plain, old unseasoned freezer chips (I work in a hospital and the canteen there makes them better and I was given a banana smoothie instead of the mango one I asked for, but hey, they had just opened and seem to be all about breakfast so decided to go back with my partner. Just like the past reviewer said, it was so disappointing all the food was really plain and boring, and being served frozen veggies is definitely not something I'd expect from any cafe, let alone a vegan cafe. This place really needs some work, and I hope for they're sakes they turn it around.

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Disappointing - Edit

There are just so many better options available in West End and frozen spinach with undercooked tomatoes, tasteless mushrooms, dry beans, margarine soaked bread with overcooked veggie bacon and sausages topped off with silken scrambled tofu swimming in water was just not worth the hour(!) wait or the money. Unfortunately we were not told that there would be such a long wait until 20 min after we had already ordered. It seemed like the chef had not cooked fake-meat before as the sausages were dry and the bacon had the texture of a shoe sole.

We definitely won't recommend this place. The only 2 good points are that 1) we didn't take any non-vegan friends or relatives to showcase what West End has to offer and 2) We'll save money by not frequenting the closest vegan place to us.
Good location is not enough. $20 for a big breakfast not using fresh ingredients. $6 for a smoothie, milkshake or juice. No menu available online.

Pros: good location, nice setting, boardgames

Cons: bad food, overpriced, bad service

2 Responses

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amandabenham 15 Feb 2013 - It is very unfortunate that on the day you visited The Banana Lounge we had a new chef on who could not cope with the high volume of customers that day. The chef was a trained chef and said she was a vegan, and had had two days here learning the menu, and assured us that she was confident to take the chef's position. However, it was an extremely busy day and under pressure the results suffered. The reviewer complained on our facebook page and an apology was provided and she was offered a refund, but did not respond. Our aim is to always have happy customers and we are very sorry that we did not have our usual 100% success rate that day. Chef Jonny is back doing Saturdays (working over 50 hours a week) until we can find a suitable chef.

pitty 02 Mar 2013 - We returned to the Banana Lounge and received a full refund from the owner. Though we haven't yet eaten there again we will go back as obviously the time we went was an exception to their usual service and quality. Looking forward to giving it another shot.

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