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Circles of life

Last updated on April 13, 2019

This Navratra, try out myanmar’s vegetarian cuisine in aesthetic surroundings that are exotic yet relatable

Taking the Burmese concept of Tea Room to a delightful new level is the popular Burma Burma chain of restaurants. Offering only vegetarian food, the chain floated by two childhood friends, Chirag Chhajer and Ankit Gupta, has five unique restaurants in India. Each has a special story to tell.

The recently launched outlet in DLF Mall of India, Noida, brings a very essential element of Burmese culture to life in a way that’s never been done before —through Mandala Art, an ancient Buddhist art form (mandala means circle in Tantrism). Burma Burma Noida keeps the same aesthetic and visual palette alive.

As soon as we stepped in, we were in awe of the elegant digitally created mandala patterns using Burmese motifs printed on veneer panels. The setting against a rust palette wall is an important design element. Cane lights created by artist Prashant Keluskar, are another visual translation of Mandala Art.

Walking towards the private dining room screened off with gorgeous jade green sliding panels, we fell in love with the exquisite cane hanging light with a fine lacquered wood trimming. The décor elements have been handpicked and executed with perfection, rendering a very unique ambience.

The food is equally exceptional. The menu is totally vegetarian, yet one does not feel anything is missing. The traditional samosa comes with a twist as Samuza Hincho or Samosa Soup — the tangy soup with spring vegetables and spiced black chickpeas is a first-time experience.

Go on to relish Mandalay Laphet Thoke or Tea Leaf Salad. Laphet is a traditional delicacy unique to Burma. A mix of fermented tea leaves, fried garlic, nuts, sesame seeds, tomato and lettuce — 80% of the tea production in Burma is used in making laphet. Going with Head Chef Ansab Khan’s recommendation, we tried Tohu Kyaw / Chilly Tangy Chickpea Tohu, which is Shan chickpea tohu tossed in chilly tamarind sauce.

The showstopper is a complete meal — Oh Nh Khowsuey, the signature bowl meal of coconut milk stirred with lemongrass, tamarind and diced Asian vegetables. It is served with an array of ‘DIY’ toppings: choice of udon, hakka, whole wheat and flat noodles.

If you are a sticky rice lover like me, then Brown Onion and Roasted Chilly Grille Sticky Rice is not to be missed. You can take your choice of filling, wrapped in banana leaf and grilled, robust with flavours. Outstanding.

Pair your food with drinks that are fresh and innovative. Like Burmese Blossom, a perfect blend of fresh watermelon juice, cranberry juice, cherry and rose. Oh No Tamarind is a unique beverage made with tamarind pulp, coconut shavings, mint and Burmese jaggery. There are other summer coolers like Lemongrass Cooler, Pomegranate and Mandarin Spritzer, Plum Sour, Sunshine Agave and more.

Launched in 2014, Burma Burma takes much pride in bringing to connoisseurs the culture, authentic taste and cuisine of Burma. Thanks to the concept, design and layout, the restaurants are quite a hit with food lovers in Mumbai, Delhi and Gurugram. The brand strives to offer a complete package of culture, tea experience and food.

Says Ankit Gupta, the restaurant’s co-owner and a third generation restaurateur, “The iconic Tea Bar at Burma Burma Noida comes along with a suspended designer display rack above the bar counter that displays rare and fine-looking artifacts sourced exclusively from Myanmar. Chirag and I envision to go beyond just a restaurant and provide guests with a new, wholesome and innovative dining experience that interacts on various levels. We want the end-consumers to experience Myanmar holistically in terms of food, culture and happiness.”

An intriguing question is: Why have they kept the menu totally vegetarian?  “During one of my visits to Burma, I had a pleasure of experiencing a beautiful period of Vassa, also referred to as the Burmese Lent. During Vassa, the people of Burma refrain from consuming any alcohol or non-veg. What I witnessed there during those days has been a driving force behind keeping Burma Burma restaurants alcohol free and completely vegetarian.”

A good place to visit during our own Lent, Navratra!