For many years my knowledge of Burma / Myanmar was primarily limited to that of my decade old tryst with Khao Suey. Other than that what many years of schooling geography taught me was that this country was once the largest exporter of rice. Trust me those books never taught us how culturally diverse this once kingdom of pagan is. Influences of India, China & Thailand is easily visible in their cuisine. Deriving stir fry techniques from it's east and spices from it's west, Burmese cuisine is a symbiosis of Indian, Chinese & Thai flavors. Bringing a near authentic experience is a few months old south mumbai restaurant & tea room named - Burma Burma
It's located right inside one of the lanes of Kalaghoda's gastro epicenter. Coming from a graphics industry background, I'm sucker for clean minimal logos and BB's exterior has one such cute clean signboard logo that encompasses meaningful visual of a lacquered doll greeting you with her serene face and folded hands. Get past the door and you're greeted with an Myanmar inspired wood work ceiling partially filled with Parasols and the tea bar wall made of shelves filled with more burmese artifacts.
The food menu is quite a rich and vast that easily can easily cover the length and breadth of Burma itself, From Paukse to Thoke and Khao Suey to Durian Ice Cream. The Tea menu is equally elaborate and features a collection of finest tea from the subcontinent. The first snack to arrive on the table are Sunflower seeds. Pick, Break and Eat is what one will be doing atleast for the first 5-10 minutes as you settle on the table. They've tied up with Mulshi Springs to package a house special mineral water induced with cranberry, mint sprig, cinamon stick and lemon rind - By far the most refreshing flavored water. Our order flowed like this - Brown Onion & Roasted Chilli Buns, Tea Leaf Salad and Burmese Falafel. Mid meal break was a portion of Royal Myanmar Cha served in earthen cups. Then continued to main course which consisted of Tomato Peanut Chutney with Coconut Rice and lastly ended with Burmese Falooda and Chaw Chaw.
To shortlist a few dishes that were stellar and stuck with me even after the meal -
- Mandalay Laphet Thoke (Salad) with crunchy fried dal, alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes, red cabbage and brewed tea leaves. A not so well presented dish but high on flavours and textures. This is the the most ordered & talked about dish on the menu.
- Brown Onions & Roasted Chilli Paukse - These steamed buns are like sliders filled with caramelised onions flavoured with roasted chilli greasy base. Caution - To be consumed right away and if left for more than 10mins, The buns turn a chewy and boring.
- Coconut Rice with Peanut Chutney - Yet another starry and talked about dish that's a little on the dry side of the palate. Smartly mixed flavours in the Tomato & Raisin based Peanut Chutney works extremely well with the Sticky Cocounut Rice. Must Order this !
- Chaw Chaw - This jelly dish may not be liked by everyone but suited well to my taste. Made by combining Seaweed Jelly / AgarAgar and Coconut cream these wobbly checkers put a fantastic end to your traditional meal.
Pricewise, it's a descent fare for a rather sparse cuisine that provided a totally satiating experience to a meat lover like me. Eight dishes costed 1910/- without taxes and including a cluster of taxes & charges it was 2400/-. The Marwari duo of Ankit Gupta & Chirag Chhajer have worked tightly and neatly perfected every aspect of this restaurant. Kudos to the team on getting this from Burma and of course with a lot of love :-)
Location : Kothari House, Allana Centre Lane,Opposite Mumbai University, Fort (Kalaghoda)
Phone : 022 40036600 / 01 / 16 (Make sure you reserve your table. High chances that you'll be on a waiting of nothing less than 24 hours)