Although Le Bis-Tro-Ke is well known by Yangon foodies it perhaps has slipped under the radar of many people. For a long time it was known as “That place on Yaw Min Gyi where Le Petit Comptoir used to be” but chef and owner Monji Khanoussi is doing a sterling job in building a reputation for his little restaurant in its own right.
The restaurant is tiny, only a handful of tables, and the menu is even smaller with only four or five traditional simple French dishes available per course. These are displayed on a blackboard that is transported from table to table. The menu changes every fortnight, so although the offering is limited, it doesn’t have chance to become boring. Considering the difficulties I often have in deciding what to eat from some of the ginormous menus available out there, I find this approach very refreshing.
I’ve eaten here a handful of times and one of the big selling points for me is the cozy atmosphere and the personable and friendly approach of Monji who flits between tables chatting with guests. I always think of eating at Le Bis-Tro-Ke as like going for dinner at a friend’s house.
When I arrive the restaurant is empty, Monji is absent, and the staff seem a little surprised to see me. Typical! The one night I want to write a review and they are going to cock it up! I needn’t have worried. The staff are well trained, the service is impeccable. The blackboard is presented to me–order swiftly taken—and a bruschetta-style amuse bouche and a glass of rather delicious red are presented in record time.
Tempted by the baked camembert I decide to take a more healthy approach and go for the avocado salad. The avocado is perfectly ripe, although the sliced egg topping does give it a bit of a 70s retro feel. How healthy it is, is debatable as it is heavily adorned with a very rich, and ever so slightly overpowering Caesar-style dressing.
The sea bass main is cooked to perfection with crispy skin and a beautifully moist center. Steam escapes as I cut into the fish, and the taste and texture is exquisite. The pilaf rice is a pleasant accompaniment, though perhaps a little dry, and I think the presentation could be worked on a little. The presence of three half cherry tomatoes does little to brighten up a fairly dull plate. The highlight of this dish though is the fennel compote—it is stunning. The subtly sweet anise flavor works wonderfully with the fish giving the meal a rather decadent feeling.
Cafe gourmand makes for a perfect hat trick finish, and at less than 40,000 kyats it is excellent value for money. They serve a daily lunchtime set menu of two courses with café gourmand for less than 10,000 kyats, which is incredible, and the menu changes everyday.
Address: 42, Yaw Min Gyi Street, Dagon Township
Phone: 09 45285 2578
Opening hours: 11:30am-2pm and 6:30pm-10pm