It's quite a task to convince one's tastebuds to try vegetarian food when you belong to the opposite world. The probability of liking the place in question drops significantly when it is also alcohol-free. Still, I dared to land in Burma Burma -- a completely vegetarian restaurant and tea room -- that is making waves in foodie circles for its authentic Burmese cuisine and enhanced tea experience.
Located in the DLF Mall of India, this recently-opened Burma Burma outlet is its fifth in India and the first in Noida.
Visiting here is a visual treat as it gives one a fascinating insight into Burmese culture and art. This establishment brings to forefront Mandala art -- an ancient Buddhist art form -- which is an essential element of Burmese culture. Digitally printed bright Mandala patterns on the walls, a pagoda statue, colourful furniture and cane chandeliers all over the place gives it a lively and artistic vibe.
Once seated, I was offered sunflower seeds to munch on while I went through the vast food menu to decide my meal for the evening.
Burma Burma juxtaposes spicy, sour, sweet and raw flavours of the cuisine and presents that beautifully on your plate in varied forms -- soups, salads, noodles, curries and fried snacks.
The tea bar here has a suspended designer display rack above it showcasing beautiful Burmese artefacts made from paper, cane and bamboo.
One can take their pick from the huge variety of white, black, green teas and herbal infusions.
Without further ado, I started with Nutella bubble tea. A harmonious blend of black tea, milk and gooey tapioca pearls with Nutella, it was refreshing and well-balanced.
Coming to soups, I tried the "Samosa soup" which is highly recommended for people who love spicy food. A little samosa was served in the tangy soup with spring vegetables and spiced black chickpeas. It was tangy, bursting with intense flavours and alluring aromas. This was hands down my favourite.
Other options that can be tried in this category were chickpea tohu soup and pumpkin and basil soup.
Next came the Thoke sampler or a salad platter that comprised of a raw mango salad, tea leaf salad and sunflower leaves and crispy wheat flakes salad. Being a person who doesn't enjoy salads, I was pleasantly surprised.
The salads were fresh, crunchy and savoury. I loved all three varieties, but the sunflower salad topped with crispy wheat flakes and tossed with tamarind chilly dressing, outshined.
In starters, I was served tohu mok palata -- chickpea mash cooked with onions, tomatoes and spices. It came with a Burmese-styled layered flaky parantha that looked like a mini Malabari parantha. It was delicious.
Next up were Burmese falafel, panfried rice dumplings and paukse or steamed buns with crunchy tofu patty.
Falafel -- made of yellow lentils, spices, onions and coriander and finished in zesty garlic sauce was decent and the gravy was quite interesting.
However, the rice dumplings topped with papaya salad fell flat and were kind of bland.
The cute white mini burgers or steamed buns with tofu patty looked tempting and were juicy and delectable.
While gobbling down these appetisers, I pampered myself with heavenly Seabuckthorn Mary and Spiced Ginger coolers.
Seabuckthorn Mary with pink salt rim is by far the most fascinating and unique thirst quencher I have ever had. It was a mix of seabuckthorn, multiple spices, tabasco sauce, kaafir lime, jalapenos and fizz. Topped with a lemon wedge, this beauty was mentally-stimulating. This one should not be missed.
The Spiced Ginger cooler, decorated with a red chilly and lemon wedge, came with inverted cranberry popsicle. It was equally enticing and left a lingering aftertaste on the palette.
A visit to Burma Burma is incomplete without trying the traditional Khowsuey or noodles which come in different versions like dry, medium dry or in curry form. I ordered Taungyi shan khowsuey with pounded mock meat, sweet soy and pickled greens. Six toppings -- peanuts, fried garlic, pepparica, fried onion, diced spring onion and lemon -- were presented separately with the delicacy.
The dessert range here is elaborate and stellar -- from sinful smokey avocado and honey caviar ice-cream to Rangoon baked milk -- house-based milk served with saffron pistachio cream, vanilla whipped ganache, raspberry gel, fried brioche and almond nougatine.
What makes the latter special and easy-to-love is that after it is served, a frozen rose is sprinkled over it.
Overall, Burma Burma provides a memorable and classy dining-cum-artistic experience and it is totally worth the hype.
P.S. You won't miss the booze at all!
Where: Third floor, DLF Mall of India, Noida
Timings: 12.30 p.m. to 4 p.m; 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Price: Rs 1,500 for two