We’d been meaning to visit our Burmese friend in Granville for a while ever since she recommended The Burman Kitchen to us as, in her opinion, an authentic Burmese dining experience. When we finally found the time to make the trip, we arrived at the restaurant not quite knowing what to expect.
Having a look at the menu, the first thing that jumped out at us was that there were many salads and sides on the menu and it took centre stage on the menu layout. There were also many unfamiliar dishes like the Pennyworth salad, Mohinga and Ngapi Yea.
When we walked in, we noticed another board with more interesting and unfamiliar menu items. The owner of the restaurant said if she had to describe Burmese food, it would be a cross between Thai and Indian food. The key is that the Burmese use split peas as their thickener, adding more depth of flavour to their dishes.
The interior of the restaurant was certainly not fancy but it did have a warm, homely feel to it.
The first dish to come out was the Pickle Tea Leaves Salad. We were quite familiar with tea as a drink but had never seen the leaves cooked before. The flavours of this dish were completely unique and unlike anything we’d eaten before. There were many strong flavours that we could identify, however, including a dried fish flavour and sharp twang from the raw garlic but it never felt off-balance. For a unique experience, this is definitely a salad worth trying.
Mohinga is a very traditional and typical dish in Burma. It is a vermicelli noodle soup with a fish-based stock, onion, crispy peas and batter chips. The flavours of the soup were sublime compared to the salad we just experienced. The soup and short noodles were very hearty and comforting and the fried elements added just the right amount of crunch for texture. This is another must try when you’re at The Burman Kitchen.
The owner of the restaurant recommended the Crispy School Prawn Salad to us as one of her most popular salads. When it came out, we could see why. It is basically school prawns battered and deep fried with assorted vegetables. It’s topped with a sour and sweet tamarind sauce and is a common street food in Burma. The batter was fried very well and all the ingredients were cooked perfectly. I couldn’t get enough of this salad and I’m still drooling as I write this.
We’ve had many vegetable curries in our time so we were interested to see how a Burmese Vegetable Curry and Rice compares to our previous experiences and it turned out to be nothing short of delicious. The wide variety of vegetables including carrot, pumpkin, okra, eggplant and green beans were cooked perfectly and the gravy was tastier than most other curries we’ve had. The owner told us that the difference is the use of peas as the thickener for the gravy which makes it richer than the curries from other cuisines. We finished this curry quickly with me shamelessly eating most of it.
To go with our salads and curry we wanted to try something a bit different. The Butter Rice is quite simply basmati rice steamed with lentils and butter.
Our first foray into Burmese food was certainly an interesting one and I loved trying new dishes from a culture I was unfamiliar with. The new flavours and textures were very addicting. We’ll have to be back soon.
To farewell our friend moving overseas to further his studies, we decided to take him back here for a unique dining experience, especially as doubt he’ll find this kind of cuisine where he’s going. And so we found ourselves back at The Burman Kitchen for the second time this week!
In addition to ordering the Mohinga, Vegetable Curry and Crispy School Prawn Salad again, we ordered a few new dishes too.
This is not your regular Tofu Salad. The folks at The Burman Kitchen make their own tofu from chickpeas! After hearing that, we had to try it. It had a consistency similar to soft tofu but a completely different texture. This is a dish that needs to be experienced first hand.
Our friends ordered the Spicy Lamb and Split Pea Curry. The lamb was cooked until it was very soft and tender and the curry had more of a warm kind of spice rather than that of hot chilli. The lamb had a good amount of fat on it but not too much and the split peas gave the gravy a lot of thickness and depth of flavour. I’m really starting to like Burmese food.
To wash everything down, I thought I’d try another unfamiliar item. The Tamarind Juice was the perfect drink to accompany our meal. It was less sour than I expected and wasn’t overly sweet. It complemented the kaffir lime in the Tofu Salad and the Crispy School Prawn Salad perfectly.
Another great visit to The Burman Kitchen with yet more new experiences. I still can’t get enough of the great flavours and textures of Burmese food and I can’t wait to visit again. It’s well-worth the trip to Granville and right next to the station. Stop by if you want to try some new and delicious food and if you’re there when it’s quiet, definitely have a chat to the owner to learn more about Burmese cuisine and culture!