Vegetarian restaurants are a rarity in Yangon’s vibrant F&B scene, making The Artisan a true trailblazer in this relatively quiet market. Tucked away from the bustling Yangon streets in a recently renovated antique building by Turquoise Mountain Myanmar, The Artisan is a world of its own.

The cafe is characterised by elegant wooden tables, plush couches and warmly lit interiors, courtesy of its ample windows that flood the space with natural light.

While the establishment exudes charm, there are opportunities for enhancement – the veranda awaits a touch of tidying, and the garden yearns for a makeover. However, amidst these minor imperfections, The Artisan holds a promise of enchantment. It’s not hard to picture the garden bathed in the soft glow of December’s fading light, teeming with patrons enjoying their time.

Back to the present, The Artisan takes pride in serving only vegetarian dishes, many of which can be easily adapted to suit vegan preferences. For example, the vegetarian Mohinga (Ks5,500) can be vegan if you ditch the boiled egg that comes separately from the broth. 

The dish is accompanied by instant vermicelli noodles, different from the conventional Mohinga noodles. The broth likely derives its rich texture from chickpeas, complemented by a medley of spices and herbs like lemongrass. The only thing lacking is the fishy aroma of the regular Mohinga. But you won’t miss it after a few spoonfuls because of its savoury depth. Sprinkle some salt to enhance the flavour since it doesn’t contain fish sauce either. 

The appetiser, Chickpea Fritters (Ks3,500), more commonly known as Bayarkyaw, is an absolute delight. Five balls of fried chickpeas are crunchy and impeccably spiced, a perfect snack for a leisurely chat over tea or coffee, ideally shared among friends. The accompanying dried chilis could benefit from a drier texture to enhance their crunchiness even further.

It’s tricky to pick a main dish since vegetarian cuisine fare typically takes a supporting role in traditional Myanmar homes. Egg Curry is tentalising. But to have a full vegan experience, the author picks the Tofu Curry (Ks7,000) served with rice, and the Eggplant Salad (Ks4,500) for a side.

The curry has notes and flavours of Indian cuisine, albeit with a gentler presence. It could benefit from less salt, though. Munching on a spoonful of smokey, umami eggplant salad adds a sense of calmness after each mouthful of dancing flavours. 

The hearty lunch is concluded with the Artisan Lemonade (Ks5,000), a refreshing blend of grapefruit juice, lime juice, tonic water, cinnamon and mint. Fizzy, cold and invigorating, the concoction evokes the essence of summer with its delightful aroma.

You can see the effort here is to demonstrate that vegetarian and vegan dishes can take the centre role of a meal with the right spices, and offer satisfaction. Moreover, The Artisan aspires to address the gap in dining options, presenting itself as an additional choice for Yangon’s vegetarian and vegan community.

Since the cafe is open for just a few weeks, it’s still in the soft opening phase. Diners can expect more selections and longer opening hours when everything comes full circle. There’s also a plan for delivery services through apps like foodpanda and Grab. Go enjoy the serene atmosphere before it blossoms into the town’s next sought-after destination! 

No 47B, Pho Sein Street, Bahan Township, Yangon
9:30 am – 6 pm (Wed-Sun)
09 269 033 323

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