The Newsroom Café and Deli, is the resident cafe, and delicatessen of The Yangon Excelsior.
It wasn’t apparent that a five-star hotel was hidden in the narrow Bo Soon Pat Street, but given the prime of the location, it was understandable. Exploring “a symbol of Burmese syncretic architecture,” according to the Excelsior’s website, wasn’t in our schedule but “Why not?” we thought.
Getting brunch with your significant other may sound good on its own but the experience is amplified by the British Colonial decor from the big hanging clock to the waiting staff’s uniforms. While we could have chosen the plush shiny cushion surrounding the vicinity, we opted for chairs instead. On a quiet Thursday afternoon, the clientele at The Newsroom was mostly working expats out and about on their lunch break. So, the mood was set and we were ready to order—that was until my date decided to get up and browse the Excelsior’s vast hotel lobby/library. Bold move, I thought.
Pictures were taken, and the lobby has browsed; we were ready to order. First to our table was the small but adequate basket of fresh breadsticks and a few slices of french bread. It was a bittersweet moment due to the extraordinary taste of the bread despite the absence of a pâté of some sort.
Soon after stuffing our faces with bread, almost everything we ordered came in a uniform order; the meals were prepped and ready to make a debut into our hungry bellies. Tummies growling, we dug in—right after a few snaps for the gram, something we never forget. First impressions of dishes were great: they were presented amazingly, the servings may look small but it was enough for the two of us.
San See Shan Khao Swe ($4), Shan noodle wasn’t the same with what I have on a day-to-day basis, it was somehow drizzled with some pickle sauce (you know, the sauce you get in your shan pickle) but it was good in its own weird way. However, despite my pickiness, my date enjoyed it.
The biggest flop to us was the French Pork Rillettes ($3), which to be fair, had a decent price tag—if you’re a miser like me, you wouldn’t be saying that. The meat was minced nicely, not too grainy and still had a few strings of pork which was good to pair with the single piece of bread they provided with the big slab of wood—also known as a serving board.
What made up for my bad experience with the tapa was The Famous Club Sandwich ($11), which had bacon, chicken, lettuce and some form of egg. It was great because my partner couldn’t finish it all—I had it all to myself; evil, I know. Just in case you were wondering, the CLUB in club sandwich doesn’t stand for Chicken Lettuce Under Bread; at least not for me: I thought it was wonderful—it had to be for the hit it served to my poor wallet. Nevertheless, the bread was good, not too soggy; the meat and veggies were in good proportions.
The cold Creamy Gazpacho with Crab Meat ($7) ranks around the same level with the rillettes. It may be because of our inexperience with high-end cuisine, but it was too tangy and the tomato flavor was too overpowering; leaving a bad aftertaste on your tongue—something I’ll not forget. Another disappointment was the amount of croutons served. It frustrates me that something that tastes so good was so limited. We did not finish the gazpacho as it kept getting stronger and more dominating with more and more we had.
As something we ordered after we finished our meal, the Pineapple Mint ($4) was one of its kinds and no doubt, the single best drink I’ve had in years. The balance of flavors were perfect; with the refreshing factor of the mint and the sweetness of the pineapple. Note that I only had a sip while my partner finished it with no remorse.
Final thoughts: the meals at The Newsroom doesn’t flatter the Burmese tongue, but if you are trying to woo someone with your taste in expensive places to get lunch, this is the place for you. But a coffee date should be excellent!
Address: Building No. 19/43, Bo Sun Pat Street, Pabedan Township, Yangon
Tel: 01 925 3861
Opening Hours: 6:30 am – 11:30 pm