25 Nov Going Dutch at Bar Boon III

Written by Andrea Chelline Published in Features Read 2737 times

Bar Boon, pronounced ‘bone’ according to our Dutch editor, is known as that café on Bogyoke Aung San road, nearby Scott Market where the tourists sit leafing through their guidebooks and sipping on a latte and enjoying a pastry before heading out on their walking tour.

That prime location was followed up with the opening of a second venue at Nay Pyi Taw airport before their latest venture opened mid-November at the site of the former ‘Standard’ between the Australian Club and Marketplace.

This new location will receive less passing trade, so in visiting ‘Boon’ for lunch, we were eager to see if this café would provide a strong alternative for the Golden Valley lunch crowd.

‘Boon’ is Dutch for ‘bean’, but as a non-coffee drinker I had to rely on my companions for an indication of their success in the caffeine stakes, both agreed the cup was to the standard they expected from the location downtown. I punted for the Raspberry Iced Tea which was refreshing, invigorating and thoroughly recommended to those afraid of the bean.

Although the venue was at this time empty, the design of the place meant you didn’t feel like were eating in a cave. Bar Boon only occupies one corner of the former ‘Standard Dining’ building, the remainder will open next week as a ‘gastro bar’, under the management of the former manager at 50th Street Bar. The environment felt light and airy but not too bright. There are also a number of seats on a fully covered patio that appear to provide a monsoon proof outdoor eating experience.

Orders are taken at the counter and were slow to be taken; having only just opened the wait staff seemed unfamiliar both with the system and the menu itself. Quite excited about the ‘BB Platter’, listed as one of the establishment’s ‘favourites’, I was disappointed to find that the assortment of Tapenade, Aoili, Baguette, Charcuterie and Olives for $9.75 was unavailable.

Attempting to console my party with the ‘Bruschetta Platter’, $9.50, another option from the shareable ‘Snacks and Bites’ menu; I was told that this could not be found on the till and would I like a Turkey, Bacon and Cream Cheese Club Sandwich instead.

We eventually got our Bruschetta Platter; arguably the highlight of the meal, sweet tangy tomatoes and onions had the most brought out of them by light vinaigrette accompanied by superb crusty bread.

‘Boon’ in the English language can be defined as a ‘timely blessing or benefit’, unfortunately the Crudities, $4.50 we ordered could not meet that same standard. The raw sliced vegetables took over half an hour to arrive after we had finished our sandwiches, with a tzatziki sauce that while tasty was a little thin.

The sandwiches themselves were mixed; the Egg Salad Baguette $4.70 on high quality bread as did the Dutch Cheese and Avocado Single, $4.90, which I ordered on a Dark Rye bread, a rarity in Yangon, and a combination that worked brilliantly and I would highly recommend.

The final sandwich was a Grilled Vegetable Toastie; the toastie is considered a national institution of the Netherlands, at least by us ignorant Brits. Expecting the gooey, hot pleasure of melted cheese my eating companion tells me she was disappointed to find the vegetables a little dry, and without cheese, though to be fair the other items on the menu list cheese and an ingredient but also the bread was square regular sandwich bread that had the impression of a Panini press.

Bar Boon’s faults are hopefully the teething problems of an establishment that has real potential to attract the business lunching crowd that surrounds Golden Valley, but to make the most of that a speedier service must be the first thing to fix on the menu.

This Article first appeared in the November 20, 2014 edition of Mizzima Business Weekly.

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