By the fourth Monday in my #MeatlessMondays routine, I wanted to share the joy I had found and the discoveries I had made in these last three weeks, with my friends. When I asked them to accompany me for a meal full of vegetarian surprises, they gave me the ‘Who are you and what have you done to our friend?’ look. Sometimes, the world takes time to catch up. Burma Burma had me intrigued for a while because, while a considerable part of the Myanmar population does believe in vegetarian fare, this restaurant promised to leave me besotted with vegetarian dishes from a country that loves its freshwater fish, shrimp paste and pork.
Entering Burma Burma, you see a lovely wooden setting and the colours that surround you instantly make you feel like you’re here to have a great time. Everything from the colourful prayer wheels to the trinkets lining the walls, it feels like one of those places where you’re really going to be well looked after. You get a similar feeling in Bali. By the time, I was transfixed by the pretty backlit umbrellas of vibrant colours hanging from the ceiling and sipping happily on an ice cold Kaffir Lime and Lemongrass Cooler, I had nearly forgotten the friends that I wanted to share this with. Owners Chirag Chhajer and Ankit Gupta take a lot of pride in this haven that they took four years to manifest into reality.
Mr. Gupta’s mother is from Myanmar so you know that the menu is bound to have had a lot of approving nods or disapproving frowns from her before it came into being.
I began with the Samuza Hincho Soup, a speciality soup of the restaurant. Yes, it was strange to have gone in for a hot soup after my cooler, but I was treating myself to a leisurely Monday night dinner and after a break, I bet on it. The dumplings in it resemble a samosa a little too closely and they come in a tangy soup of cabbage, carrot and capsicum. The soup is somewhere between a Tom Yum and a Rasam but the samosa-like treats complement it beautifully. Any acid reflux that could have been caused by the clashing of the soup and the cooler would have been totally worth it. I followed this up with Budhi Kyaw, (bottle gourd fries) a beautiful take on fries that humbles and the concept of fries and puts a healthy spin on it while letting bottle gourd subtly up its game. The Laphet Thoke Tea Leaf Salad was something I chose next purely because it’s the first I was hearing of a salad with tea leaves.
This modest looking mix of fermented tea leaves, fried garlic, nuts, sesame seeds, tomatoes and jalapenos doesn’t let on the perfect amount of tanginess you’re in for.
The crunchiness of it made it impossible to put down. For the mains, I was specifically asked to go in for the Ohn Thamin and I obeyed. The sticky rice cooked in creamy coconut milk complemented very surprisingly by a party of peanuts and raisins in a tangy tomato-based curry was my reward for obeying. Obedience pays off… sometimes.
I ended my meal with their Durian Ice Cream because I’ve always been curious about this smelliest fruit of them all, which has earned the honour of being the king of fruits in a majority of Southeast Asia. If the fruit is this easy on the tongue, I will block my nose and devour it. I didn’t get to try the Oh No Khaosuey, the various much raved about teas here and the Burmese Falooda, which comprises of chilled coconut milk served with sponge cake, coconut jelly, lotus seeds and a pot of fruity bubble gum tea. That’s something I will come back for soon.
#MeatlessMondays has shown me a side of vegetarian food that doesn’t simply feature paneer and mushroom and a healthier lifestyle. I plan to keep it up. Do you guys plan to join in?
Check out our previous features from #MeatlessMondays series – The Vedge, Ithaka – Veg Lebanese Kitchen & The Yoga House.
How to Get There:
Where: Kothari House, Allana Centre Lane, MG Road, Behind Mumbai University, Fort, Mumbai
Contact: 022 61054592
Timings: All Days 12 Noon to 2:45 PM, 7 PM to 11 PM
Cost: ₹1,500 for two people