“We’ll grab a few beers and some non veg after we hit this place. After all, how are any of us going to be satisfied with a vegetarian meal that doesn’t even have any liquor being served?”
These were my exact words to a friend and fellow food enthusiast, when we received the invitation to come over and try out what the Burma Burma Restaurant and Tea Room had to offer. I had heard that they’re all vegetarian and don’t have a liquor licence (courtesy a friend from Delhi), I went in with no expectations.
My mind is blown! I stand humbled; bowing down to the power a vegetarian meal that much like a Rahul Dravid performance silenced the critics and doubters.
Located on the already bustling 12th main of Indiranagar , the Burma Burma Restaurant and Tea Room boasts of delightful warm interiors, and is decorated with numerous curios and artefacts from Burma. As I sat down, more eager to catch up with friends as opposed to focussing on the meal because my sheer arrogance of ‘how could a vegetarian meal possibly impress me more than a dish or two’, the first punch was thrown. We were served the Hincho, a delightful tangy soup with a samosa inside. Expecting a Chinese hot and sour like flavour, I had my first sip… and by the end of the bowl, I was eagerly looking forward to what more the team had to offer. With delightful roasted flavours of the vegetables and chickpea, the soup was absolutely homely and hit the spot.
This was followed by two spectacular salads; the Mandalay Laphet Thoke and the Tayat Ti Thoke. The former is scrumptious tea leaf salad consisting of fermented tea leaves, garlic nuts, sesame seeds, tomato and lettuce. The dish was absolutely soulful and brought about the same sort of glee one has after devouring a chaat from the street vendors. With crunchy elements, citrus elements, and earthy flavours of tea, this was love at first bite. The latter was a spicier salad with raw mango shreds with chilly and onions.
The Pyaan Boo Palata, a lip-smacking creamy corn mash cooked with coconut milk, spices and brown onions continued our journey down the path of redemption for our arrogance. We very quickly gobbled up the dish with the paratha. I was all set to be uncouth and use my fingers to clean up the serving bowl, but better sense prevailed. This dish was accompanied by Crunchy Tofu Steamed Buns; I would have never guessed tofu was an ingredient unless someone had told me. We were at that point in the meal where we weren’t sure whether we ought to polish off the dish or sample it while we continue to salivate in anticipation for the next dish that was going to come our way.
And then they brought out the big gun… the Oh No Khow Suey. A signature dish of the country and of Burma Burma, this dish was fantastic. I shall not attempt to describe it with words, just go and order a bowl. The khow suey was accompanied by a Burmese style stir fried vegetables with brown onion and roasted chilly grilled fried rice. But the poor chaps were left largely ignored thanks to the khow suey.
Dessert was another delightful affair with the Smokey Avocado Honey Caviar Ice cream, coupled with the Tagu Pyian ( a dish of sago with jaggery and coconut custard). Just the kind of thing that doesn’t over power the wonderful mix of flavours left behind in your mouth, yet satisfies one’s sweet tooth.
At the end of the meal, I had absolutely no craving for a beer or a cocktail or even the slightest hankering for some non veg. It takes a lot to impress someone like me with veg food. But that evening, I was a believer that vegetarian food in Indian restaurants can go beyond paneer and glorified home cooked food. I was at work the next day, and like a born-again Christian, told anyone who cared to listen about my experience the previous evening. Fellow hard-core non vegetarians looked at me as thought I were delusional from some form of malaria.
Kudos to Ankit Gupta and chef Ansab Khan for giving me, and numerous friends of mine who’ve gone after me to verify why this Happy Panda had gone stark raving mad talking about vegetarian food, an experience that floored us. The only problem now is that after having a chat with Ankit Gupta, I’ve got an acute case of wanderlust with Burma written on it. It’s definitely making it to the top three destinations I travel to next. While the restaurant doesn’t take reservations, the wait is almost an hour for a table, but is well worth your time. Head over to have your taste buds blown away. My estimate is that a meal for two should work out to about INR 3500.