There’s this common line of thought for most non vegetarians, even the not so intense meat reveling kind-when we hear good reviews of a vegetarian place the reaction is usually along the lines of, “That’s nice but I mean it’s…vegetarian.”
Like the lack of cooked carcasses somehow means the restaurant will never live up to our discerning taste buds or satisfy our flesh craving tummies.
Burma Burma is one of those restaurants that delivers a proverbial slap in the face to those misled, utterly WRONGLY preconceived notions.
We were in the Kala Ghoda area a few weekends back, whiling away yet another fruitful Sunday morning shopping for clothes that we probably don’t really need when we got done and realised we were moderately hungry. And as ignorant non vegetarians often go, we thought stepping in for a quick lunch at a vegetarian place should ensure we don’t feel too stuffed.
Boy, were we wrong.
First thing you need to know about this place on the weekends- it is PACKED. So don’t make the mistake we did and make a reservation beforehand.
We walked in at 12.30pm with nary a care in the world, expecting an empty restaurant only to find all tables taken. But we were told that they were seating walk-ins at their bar, so we gladly obliged.
Burma Burma is a charm in all its rustic, far-eastern influenced glory. You walk in to rich wood tones and a ceiling covered with colourful little umbrellas.
The bar area we were seated at was further backed by an open shelved showcase, spanning the length of the wall, its little shelves filled with pots, kettles, figurines and other paraphernalia.
Their menu is concise yet varied in its offerings but since we were supposedly eating “light”, we stuck to an appetiser, a main, a dessert and some water for the mother and coco boba tea for me.
Sadly have no pictures of the tea but this was my first time trying boba in Bombay. And the tapioca pearls here, albeit small, were the right texture- soft yet chewy. All the boba tea kings in Cupertino, SFO would definitely approve. The tea itself was chilled and refreshing as well.
Now for the actual grub:
Pan Fried Rice Cakes
The dish mainly consisted of pan fried cakes, made with a simple rice flour and sesame seed batter, each bite topped with a fresh, perfectly balanced spoonful of papaya salad. It was served with four sauces on the side, namely: a savoury peanut butter and chili oil sauce, a sweet yet spicy dried chili paste, a tangy tamarind sauce and a mild black bean sauce.
We weren’t expecting much, but it was DELICIOUS to say the least. Each mouthful was an explosion of flavour, with the crispy layer of the pancakes, the nuttiness from the sesame, the crunchy and acidic bite of the salad and the umami from the sauces. It was finished in no time and set off the cogwheels in mom’s head as she tried to analyse the sauces so she can replicate them at home later.
Oh No Khao Suey
One Burmese food mainstay that everyone is generally familiar with is the khow suey. Its definitely all I knew about the cuisine before I walked into this place. So it was a given that we’d order their rendition of the classic and we were advised to split one portion in two bowls because of its size.
And so two piping hot bowls of udon noodles and vegetables in a velvety coconut milk based broth, drizzled with chili oil arrive along with a bunch of toppings on the side, which included- roasted peanuts, fried onion, fried garlic, lemon wedges, spring onions and finely chopped coriander. So we prepped our respective bowls to taste and relished every bite. Yes, all the good things you hear of the Burma Burma khao suey are in fact true. It’s wholesome and satisfying to the very last spoonful.
I have to preface this saying we were stuffed by the time the mains were done, but we could not escape the interesting options the menu had for dessert and we settled for this coconut and pineapple flavoured affair.
What it is, is essentially a thick coconut custard served with freshly cut pineapple and a pineapple foam along with a dollop of palm jaggery on the side.
The custard by itself is a pure, unadulterated shot of creamy, slightly sweet yet extremely flavourful coconut in every bite. Now, this may seem excessive to most but to keralites aka coconut fanatics like us, it was heaven.
Generally when desserts have a bunch of elements, I feel not all of them necessarily add much to the dessert itself. But Burma Burma proved me wrong yet again. The creamy coconut is mellowed down by the sweet pineapples and the acidic foam, and the sticky almost toffee like palm jaggery between bites adds a completely different texture to the dish and makes you go in for more coconut to balance the sweetness. It was a delight to savour and we finished every last morsel despite our otherwise full stomachs.
Needless to say, we absolutely loved the place, and walked out with wide smiles, coconut filled tummies and promises to return to sample more of their fare. Soon.
Keep up the good work, guys.