15 Dec Great burgers and personal serenade surprises

Written by Matt Roebuck Published in Art & Culture Read 3706 times

Blind Tiger: a laid back cartoon character with the smile of the Cheshire Cat, a cigarette on the go and a look of mischief in his one good eye sits above the entry to a 1920s US Prohibition-era style speakeasy on the ground floor of Nawaday Street’s Union building.

After waiting patiently outside and once the management has determined you’re not the Feds, the door opens up to what is advertised as a “grown-up” drinking establishment.

Dark burgundy walls and wallpaper fit the theme, the glow of candles and soft light from elegant chandeliers make for a warm, cosy atmosphere. Artwork from “emerging and established artists” in Myanmar adorns the walls.

The BT Burger (K15,000) offers a choice of eight toppings from a list that at first glance seems to be extensive, though five are cheese based. There’s also a choice of seven sauces. The choices of cheeses and sauces allow for creativity and a diner on a neighbouring table who is known to be a tough critic judged the bar to be worthy of its place on Yangon’s US$15 burger circuit.

Blind Tiger has cleverly topped its menu to attract cheese-starved Yangonites; the “Cheese Dip Platter” (K7,000); offers a choice of two of four dips: “Red pepper and feta’, ‘Blue cheese heaven’, Creamy gouda and horseradish’, and ‘Fresh herbed cream cheese”. The horseradish cream delivered a delightful kick through the nutty gouda, while avoiding being over powering.

Served with toasted baguette, carrot sticks and apple slices, there was enough dip so that even after a second helping of bread, which diners are advised to order, there was still some dip daring you to attack with your fingers.

The “Crab cakes” (K7,000), described as “classic bar bites” melt in the mouth with a complimentary sauce and a crisp, clean oriental coleslaw; made with green cabbage, fennel and sesame seeds.

“Spicy Spanish meatballs” (K6,500) is a serving of two sticks of three balls, covered in a deep, smoky tomato sauce, courtesy of smoked paprika and just the right amount of chili; a small but hearty delicacy for cool season under the air-con.

The “Citrus Chicken Yakatori” (K7,000) was the only disappointment of the night. My dining companion had lived in Japan and insisted on the dish, described as “skewered tidbits in orange juice, honey, soy and ginger”. The squares of chicken on the three skewers failed to make a significant impact on the palate.

Still peckish, we finished the evening with a tub of “Garlic and Sea Salt Home Fries” (K4,000), an accompaniment I recommend to ensure you leave satisfied. Compliments must again go to the saucier; this time delivering a pot of garlic mayo to accompany the well-seasoned fries.

Service was fast and attentive, without the hovering, and although the place was busy, food was on the table in ten and cocktails in a jiffy. You might as well splurge on one of its concoctions, because at K3,000, it is pushing the limits for half a pint of Myanmar beer.

Blind Tiger tries to deliver a quirky elegance and a perfect example of its attention to detail is the toilets, where an audio system will serenade you with period music while you receive a history lesson on prohibition.

As much as another might argue it’s all a bit hipster and contrived, I’d be much happier to splurge a little for this “grown up” experience; in contrast to other establishments where the glamour is based more on shallow razzmatazz and table bottles of Chivas Regal.

Unit III, United Condominium
Corner of Nawaday, Ahlan Paya Pagoda Road

This Article first appeared in the December 11, 2014 edition of Mizzima Weekly.

Mizzima Weekly is available in print in Yangon through Innwa Bookstore and through online subscription at www.mzineplus.com