Babett Yangon needs a little introduction. What started as a mere “posh restaurant” has bloomed into one of Yangon’s cherished culinary destinations, overcoming numerous challenges throughout the years.

Chef Jeab. (Credit: Babett Yangon)

MYANMORE had an opportunity to talk with its new executive chef Jeab who hails from Thailand. The chef had worked with Scarlett Bangkok, Babett’s sister restaurant in the Land of Smiles, for six years. He had also been to Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam, working in the kitchens of prestigious restaurants. 

He is also not a complete stranger to Myanmar because he spent about two months on the Strand Cruise eight years ago. Now he is back in Yangon to take the helm at Babett Yangon. 

Although he arrived at the restaurant only a month ago, the chef already felt at home: “I specialise in French cuisine but I also take inspiration from our traditional Thai ingredients and cooking methods. Since Myanmar and Thai have almost the same eating habits and we do fusion food here, I believe I can bring tastes and flavours from both cultures and mix them with our French-style cooking to please our customers.”

Jeab created a specialty menu called Chef’s Suggestions, which rotates weekly, and MYANMORE got to try some of them. The four-course feast began with an appetiser, Prawn and Cold Soba. The delicate soba noodle, sweet sauce and juicy prawns were the very definition of umami. The dish left you yearning for more, which was a good appetiser’s duty in a feast.

One of the two main dishes was Salmon Ravioli & Hollandaise Foam. Jeab explained his tweaks: “We cut two square sheets of ravioli and stuff it with mushroom cream and white wine. Then we placed it together with salmon meat and baked them. Normally we used hollandaise sauce whisked by hand. But here we slow-cooked it and put it in syphon to make foam.” 

He brought the syphon and introduced a small portion of foam to the plate. The ravioli nestled in the foam resembled a huge sunny-side-up. Inside the dome was a pleasure to both the sense of smell and taste – an enticing aroma filled the air upon opening the ravioli and the creamy texture of the stuffings and the fish was subtly sweet. The hollandaise foam was more accessible and less cloying than the traditional sauce form. 

The third entry was Pan-seared Duck Breast & Confit Leg Croquettes. The cuts of duck were served together with a ravioli stuffed with pumpkin and pistachios and a duck meat croquette. The savoury meat was tender to chew on. You can dip it in the sauce but it was still delicious to have it on its own.

Finally, the dessert came. The mango was in season and Jeab’s Trio Mango was one way to make the best use of this wonderful fruit. “We made the mango mousse and laid it on top of the tart which is covered in caramelised pistachios, hazelnuts and almonds. Another layer is the fresh mango with syrup. We serve it together with a mango sorbet.”

It had everything. The sweetness of the tart, tanginess of the sorbet and richness of the nuts all worked together to make a classic dessert fruit exquisite. The addition of fresh mango provided a refreshing touch, particularly after indulging in a satisfying main course such as duck breast. 

The appetiser and main courses rotate weekly so you might not find all the above-mentioned items on your visit. The dessert stays for one month on Chef’s Suggestions, so go enjoy it before it is replaced.

After the meal, it became evident that even times and head chefs change, Babett consistently maintains its A-game. With Chef Jeab who has over 10 years of cooking experience across Asia overseeing the kitchen, Yangonites’ beloved fine diner is in safe and capable hands. 

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