Understated opulence and quality food in a leafy corner of People’s Park. Words and photos by Charles Duchemin.
With the Michelin guide finally discovering the Bangkok dining scene it is only a matter of time before they venture into Yangon. When the inspectors from the red guide eventually arrive here, they will definitely be making a beeline for The Yangon Restaurant.
Situated in a quiet leafy corner of People’s Park, The Yangon oozes understated opulence with a relaxed semi-formal vibe. Artwork adorns the walls and the floor to ceiling windows offer splendid views of the goings-on outside. At lunchtime the restaurant feels spacious, airy and light, and certainly the kind of place you could enjoy an extended business lunch without too much trouble.
We go for the set lunchtime menu; there is a good selection of exciting sounding dishes though we are drawn towards the two starters that require supplementary payments. The service is swift and attentive, although perhaps a little timid at times.
First up is a generous portion of three scallops served with a perfectly cooked quail egg. It looks delightful, but after a bit of digging around things get complicated. The wasabi-minted peas are a little overpowering, the Parmesan an unnecessary flourish. The addition of jamon iberico is a nice touch but perhaps a little excessive, and the tapenade on top just swamps everything. This feels like a dish that the chef just couldn’t decide what to leave out, which was a shame because it would have been magical with half the ingredients.
The fois gras provides a similar experience. Visually the dish has a lot of potential with a decent sized piece of liver and light foam, but again the flavors are fighting with each other to grab your attention. The delicate sweet apple jelly is overpowered by the floral grittiness of the pear and pineapple compote, which is battered by the cinnamon that is then beaten into submission by the surprise layer of chocolate sauce at the bottom. It is a great dish but comes across as needlessly confusing.
Both main courses are much simpler, and better-executed all round. The sea bass is cooked to perfection, and the tangy anchovy ragout works really well. The pork rack is tasty and married well with a rich pepper sauce.
It’s easy to be overly critical when reviewing a fine dining place, as your expectations are so high. And although The Yangon isn’t quite at the standard of a Michelin star just yet, it is not far away. As lunchtime spots go this is definitely one of, if not the best in the city and with two courses at 20,000 kyats or three courses for 25,000 kyats you’d be hard pushed to find a nicer place to enjoy a luxurious lunchtime rendezvous. My advice would be to get there now, while you can still get a table, because that will change when the Michelin men find out about it!
Address: People’s Park Compound, Ahlone Road, Near Planetarium Museum, Dagon Township, Yangon
Hours: Weekdays: 12-5pm, 6-11pm / Weekends: 10.30am-4pm, 6-11pm
Phone: 01 370 177