Sunday, August 20, 2017

Home style it ain’t

There is a lot to like about La Maison 20, an ambitious new restaurant and bar on Kabar Aye Pagoda Road beside Japanese establishment Wasabi that opened about six months ago.

Set in a tastefully renovated villa, the entrance opens on to a large bar area, with several rooms available for dining.

The interior decoration is apparently the work of Jacques Langer, a French interior decoration consultant, and the restaurant is outfitted with Myanmar-themed artworks and nice furniture, which one presumes is made locally.

I’m still not really sure where the name comes from given there are just a handful of European dishes on the menu.

When I visited there were no other customers and the staffs were unsurprisingly friendly and attentive. A paucity of fellow diners can sometimes be awkward, particularly if half-a-dozen bored waiters hover around your table, waiting for the opportunity to add 50 millilitres to your water glass or replenish the complimentary peanuts. Happily, that did not happen.

My main beef was with the food. This is Myanmar fare customised for the sensitive Western palate, which is fine when you do it well, as some Yangon establishments do. But the classics that I ordered – chicken and gourd soup (K4800) and eggplant, or aubergine, salad (K2000) – were in my opinion too far removed from what I consider to be their original state.

The salad was overly dry and creamy, and lacked its normal delicious smokiness. The chicken and gourd soup seemed to have coconut milk in it.

The prices are a little expensive considering what you get, and the drinks are no different: a rum sour was K4000, while a glass of Red Mountain shiraz was K5000. Only afterwards did I realise they forgot to charge me for the Thai-style omelette with pork (K3500).

Nevertheless, La Maison 20 exudes potential. With some tinkering to the menu, it could become an established fixture on the Yangon dining scene.