The massive temple bells on the ceiling, beautiful wicker furniture, the artsy Burmese handicrafts; everything seems enchanting, everything shouts Burma. A bit like “Alice in Burma Land”, Burma Burma is the new all-vegetarian Burmese restaurant in Cyber Hub, Gurgaon.
We were handed over a very elaborate menu and unanimously decided to let the warm restaurant manager work his magic, as we sipped on a subtly spiced tea with clove, orange and cinnamon. Thirsty from the humid days we’ve been facing in the capital, we got straight to the drinks order. The restaurant only serves non-alcoholic beverages, so we went for the Oh No Tamarind, Spiced Ginger, Kaffir Lime Cooler and Burmese Blossom while we popped fistfuls of salted sunflower seeds. All well balanced and refreshing, one word of caution: the Spiced Ginger ain’t for the faint hearted- it packs in quite a punch.
And then started the upward spiral into food heaven. We first got the Samuza Hincho – one of their best-selling dishes. One noisy slurp of the broth and you know exactly why. It’s a mild tom-yum, with mini samosas and black gram; but better. The second soup was a hearty, warm bean curd and tofu soup called Tohu Hincho. There was a tasty yet uncanny resemblance to a mushy and subtly spiced yellow dal. We would go back for seconds of the Samuza soup. (We now declare all Samosas to be renamed as Samuzas)
Then came the Thoke Salad Sampler where the clear winner was the Tea leaf Salad – Hubba hubba. The earthiness of the fermented tea with the crunchiness of the fried garlic, sesame seeds and peanuts – smashing. Followed by the Raw Mango Salad with shredded cabbage, crushed nuts and roasted chilly, and the Grapefruit Salad with crispy brown onions and a sweet-tangy-spicy dressing which were both great. But if you ask us what we’re still dreaming about, it’s that Tea leaf Salad!
For starters, we got the Burmese Falafel and Chilly Tangy Chickpea Tohu. The Falafel was a tad bit dry and the Tohu dish drew parallels from the standard bar hit Chilly Paneer, so we went back to demolish a second round of salads. We also got the Paukse or Burmese Steamed Buns that are akin to Baos (a much needed relief after the Chilly Tofu!). The sweet-savoury caramelized onion filling worked beautifully with the mildly sweet buns! A win-win dish.
The finale to the starters was the Tohu Moh Palata which is Burmese tofu broken down with onions, tomato and various spices into a pasty consistency served with a flaky and crispy paratha. Considering India and Burma are neighbours, it is no surprise that Burmese food has influences of India, and this dish was a prime example of that.
Coming to the mains, the carnage started with Burmese Fried Rice paired with a Lemongrass Curry. Our apprehensions about lemongrass as a base for a curry were proved wonderfully wrong. The mild, citrusy curry was delicious and could pretty much be eaten on its own. We then graduated to their signature Oh No Khow Suey and the Shwedagon Khow Suey. The Signature Khow Suey was exactly what we dreamt of when we got the invite for the tasting- DIY, comfortable, filling (or was that ALL the goodness we had consumed all evening?). The crunch of the peanuts and fried onions, the fragrance of the lime and coriander, the beauty of the mound of delicate noodles swimming in the golden coconut curry, the murmur of “yumm” with every bite – a treat for the senses! The Shwedagon Khow Suey was the less soupy, non-DIY-y but an equally yummy cousin of the Signature Khow Suey. We sat with content smiles plastered on our faces, and a very very full Buddha belly!
There wasn’t much scope for dessert but we decided to loosen our pants and continue digging into what was on offer – Avocado and Honey ice cream and a Coco Pina. A theatrical lemongrass smoke accompanied the Avocado ice cream. The plating for this dessert was slightly cumbersome as the flat plate ensured that as the ice cream melted, we had a lil pool on the table and on our clothes! The Coco Pina was a coconut custard (like a panna cotta) with grilled pineapple chunks and pineapple foam – a play on a deconstructed Pina Colada but even yummier since the sweetness of the pineapple was balanced by a slight savoury custard. Being a teahouse, we couldn’t leave without a pot of tea and finished off the meal with some digestive Lavender tea, which was lovely for gluttons like us!
In all the dishes we tasted and sampled, not once did the carnivores at our table miss their meat! We have tried and failed miserably to keep our meat cravings at bay on several occasions- but clearly only Burma Burma has been able to break them! Kudos to the chef, the manager Ashu and the entire team, for being able to pull off that one. We can’t wait to go back, but next time with looser pants.
Stevie’s Secret Tip: Book a table in advance and whatever you do, don’t forget to order the Tea Leaf Salad + Signature Khow Suey + Paukse + Tohu Moh Palata
Where to chow: Ground Floor, Shop 6, Building 8, Tower C, Cyber Hub, DLF Cyber City, Gurgaon
How much to keep in the wallet: Rs. 1,700 (for two, for tons of food, for ace service)