Burma Burma, Fort’s all vegetarian Burmese restaurant is over a year old, is still running packed, and has received brilliant reviews. Then why eat there, and review it now, after all this time? Because sometimes your meal is just so spectacular or lackluster that I feel it’s mandatory to blog about it. This meal was a bit of both. Started off beautifully only to end with a sour taste in my mouth.
Burma Burma has been in the news ever since it has launched, and I’ve never heard such contradictory opinions about any place. Bloggers have been raving about the food, I know friends who frequent the place on a monthly basis – they love the food that much. And then there is the social media outrage over their reservation policy and how exclusively snooty they are behaving. Always booked, no tables whenever you call and reserve.
Bee and I were in that part of the city one Sunday afternoon, and I decided to pay a visit and clear the confusion myself. I also believe that the best reviews are done a few weeks after a restaurant is launched. All teething troubles get eliminated, staff is trained, and you get to see the actual representation of the restaurant. This on the other hand is a tad bit too late. LOL
I forewarned Bee that getting a table on Sunday for lunch may be tough, and we were already looking at other lunch options on Zomato, as we walked in. We were pleasantly surprised to hear that we would get a table in ten minutes, and we could chill at the bar till then. After settling at the bar, that serves no alcohol FYI, we were immediately shifted to a table. Plus hundred points, Burma Burma!
The place is small and cozy, with the entire tea bar area decorated with knick knacks and artifacts that seem to be sourced from Burma, Tibet and beyond. The ceiling is covered with Burmese umbrellas, and make for such a pretty sight. The Tibetan prayer wheels that line one side of the restaurant took me back to my Nepal trip. Colorful and traditional, yet classy and clean, I loved the decor of the place.
We requested to be shifted to a quieter, cozier booth, which was empty. The server said that was reserved for a party who was expected to come shortly. Only that the concerned party did not come at all. Minus hundred points.
We started off our meal, minus this minor glitch with two mocktails that were so refreshing that I wished I was sunbathing on a beach somewhere sipping this. The Ohh No Tamarind was a refreshing and surprising medley of tamarind, jaggery and coconut shavings in a glass filled with crushed ice. Ingredients that I was weary of drinking, but I’m glad I did because it was just so refreshing.
Decisions, decisions! We were contemplating between ordering the Samosa Salad or the Samosa Soup but went with the former because it was just too hot to have soup. The Samosa Thoke, I learnt is a fairly common vegetarian Burmese street food option. This salad was a lovely medley of salad greens, along with tomatoes and onions in a fairly spicy and tangy dressing. Chunks of samosa intersperse the salad providing relief to the fried food lover in me.
After much careful deliberation we decide not to go down the steam bun route again and opt for something different. The Pyan Boo Palata is a dish of creamed corn flavored with coconut milk topped with ‘birista’ or caramelized onions that I absolutely love the flavour of. The flaky parathas are like any other regular paratha, and me being 100% Indian miss the presence of ghee/oil slathered on top. This is a hearty dish and is listed under the appetizer section, but can pass off as a main.
We ordered the dish that has now become synonymous with Burmese cuisine next – Khow Suey. The curry of the khow suey here is flavourful and has a lovely lemongrass fragrance. It comes with an assorted tray of condiments for you to sprinkle over as per your liking. Bee complained that there were lesser noodles in his bowl than he would have liked. I wish the khow suey was not pre-mixed. The curry and noodles could have been served in different bowls so that it can be mediated as per individual preference. The first time during the entire meal that I missed the presence of meat, being used to eating my khow suey with chicken or prawn.
Halfway through my khow suey, three servers began to hover over our table and tell us that the kitchen would shut shortly and they were taking last orders. Justified! We requested them to check if they could bring us a pot of Holy Detox Tea, only if the kitchen wasn’t closed yet, which they complied. I was really in the mood to leisurely sip on some tea, after a heavy meal. They also have an exhaustive tea menu which is impressive. Our tea arrived shortly, and we had a lovely experience brewing it and munching on the accompanying sunflower seeds.
No sooner than I finished half my cup, the server brings us the cheque requesting us to pay it off. We were made to clear our bill, amidst a few more servers hovering over our heads, indirectly expecting us to leave. I understand it was 3pm, and lunch service was over. Had they just politely told us that they would not serve us the tea I would have understood, instead of rushing us off like that. So as I rightfully said, it was a pleasant meal, with decent food had this episode not occurred. I’d rather have skipped the tea than have had to gulp it down like that.
We paid approximately Rs 2000/- for a meal for two, which I considered fairly expensive, keeping in mind it was a purely vegetarian spread. Out of which, 500 bucks were dedicated to assorted taxes. (Gosh, eating out is going to get crazy expensive. No thank you, Budget 2015!)
I left Burma Burma just as confused as when I entered, not sure if I liked my experience or not.
Kothari House, Allana Centre Lane,
MG Road, Behind Mumbai University, Fort, Mumbai.
Follow @BurmaBurmaIndia on Twitter/Instagram
(The author dined anonymously and paid for her own meal).