Thursday, July 27, 2017

Savouring authentic Indian breakfast at The Marina

 The Marina at prime time.  Myo Satt/ The Myanmar TimesThe Marina at prime time.  Myo Satt/ The Myanmar Times

The first thing that pops into my mind every morning is “what’s for breakfast?”.

Breakfasts during weekdays can be treated as expedient as one has to go on with his daily business; go to work, to school, etc.

Weekend breakfasts, on the other hand, can be a rather more jovial and social event. Where, then, can I best find my next breakfast destination except in Facebook, the ultimate social media? I searched and typed. And here it was, boasting over 38,000 “likes” and displaying pictures of its tasty Indian dishes: The Marina.

Tasty K5000 Breakfast SetTasty K5000 Breakfast Set

A look at the pricelist: K5000 for a breakfast set. C’mon, it’s the weekend. Done.

The Marina is located in Dagon Township on Taw Win Road, a fancy area which is home to many foreign embassies.

Through the driving monsoon rain I saw the restaurant’s lights. As I stepped out of the taxi, the restaurant’s staff welcomed me and deployed an umbrella over my head. Five stars for the service.

As I stepped inside the restaurant, I easily found my friend in one of the well-arranged tables that were not exactly filled with early-birds – breakfast is served from 7:00 am to 10:00am.

Uthappam with onion and podi seasoningUthappam with onion and podi seasoning

The Marina’s menu offers a lot of option that could be too much of information to process in the early hours.

Thankfully, I was already set on the Breakfast formula, which includes an unleavened bread fried on griddle called Paratha, one Vada (a savory fried snack in doughnut shape), five small Indian steamed rice cakeknown as Idly and one big Dosa (a tasty Indian Pancake which is thin and a bit crispy); all of which you can dip in a delicious lentil-based vegetable stew called Sambar, a sour tomato chutney or a creamy coconut one.

The set also comes with chicken curry gravy that one might consider a tad oily.

Vegetarian Dim Sum displayed on cabbageVegetarian Dim Sum displayed on cabbage

My friend went a la carte and ordered an Uthappam, another Indian-style pancake. We shared a dim sum for two.

The Uthappam my friend ordered was made with a batter similar to the Dosa’s. The difference, however, was that it was as thick as Myanmar’s pancakes known as Bane Mote. Uthappam comes with sprinkle onions, chilies, and also podi, a mix of grounded dry spices.

With the breakfast set, one is entitled to a cup of tea or coffee. I went for the coffee. Freshly brewed, no sugar added, the purists will appreciate.

But let me talked to you about the tea. The Marina’s tea is really a reason to pull one out of bed. I never had such a tasty and perfumed tea before.

The combination of dry ginger and cinnamon powder give the cup character, milk softens the mix, green cardamom flavors it all. I was in luck my friend let me sip some of it, not sure I would have if I was him.

Chef getting reading for lunch and breakfast timeChef getting reading for lunch and breakfast time

What came last was a vegetarian dim sum: Only three in a box, much to the gluttons’ regret. A side note: the dim sum will arrive last as they are fresh, homemade ones. They will start taking shape and get steamed the moment you order, contrary to the readymade dim sum served elsewhere.

In India, condiments matter. It is, after all, the land of spices. The Marina makes a point of importing its spices from India in order to give its customers an authentic experience.

No industrial seasoning powder can be found in The Marina’s kitchen. Monosodium glutamate, or MSG as it is known in many Burmese home kitchens, is an helpful quick fix for a pot of stew, but I personally prefer more natural ways to cook. On that front, the Marina does not disappoint.

I only have so much space and appetite at breakfast time, but I will come back to The Marina for lunch or dinner. I want to try their chicken and mutton curries and I am curious to try their almond milk, something I had never heard of before.

K5000 might be considered a bit pricey for a breakfast when one can grab a quick mohinga in the street for around K500 but at The Marina, not only do you pay for a good, solid breakfast, but also and mostly for a great service and a real taste of India.


For more information, check The Marina Indian Restaurant Facebook page.


Translation by Zar Zar Soe, Kyaw Soe Htet and Khine Thazin Han