“I took the next seat at the bar and ordered a scotch on the rocks. The bartender asked me what kind of scotch I’d like, and I answered Cutty Sark. I really didn’t care which brand of scotch he served me, but Cutty Sark was the first thing that came to mind.”- Haruki Murakami
Burma Lane, situated down Little Collins St, boasts high ceilings adorned by bird cages, dim lights and a beautiful mural of Aung San Suu Kyi. At the moment Burma Lane are offering cheap date Mondays, that is, 2 for 1 banquets. Having devoured a Burma Banquet I zealously returned to do it all over again. I quickly ordered a Cutty Sark Whisky – straight for warmth and their $69 banquet to accompany my drink.
The Potato & Spicy Shredded Lamb Cakes, served with a mint-riddled yoghurt may have been the highlight of the evening. A crispy shell gave way to a mix of soft potato and rich, melty shredded lamb.
The Fish salad was unexpectedly amazing. Served with lemongrass, crispy shallots, dashes of chilli and 2 types of mint was almost overpowered by flavour. Almost. If I had any criticism of this dish, it would be that they held off on the chilli too much, a noticeable theme throughout the evening was the lack of spice. However, this is just a personal gripe.
How good is fried chicken? This is merely a rhetorical question – especially when it is coated with a crunchy, spicy breading. Two massive chicken wings were plonked on a bed of Burmese slaw, with a cheeky dollop of tart sweet chilli sauce.
The following three dishes arrived together, each competing for space in my stomach. The Rangoon Mohinga with it’s delicate rice noodles, wrapped around turmeric rockling. The zesty lemongrass broth smoothed the flavour profile and the addition of a yolky egg is always pleasing.
The Tea Leaf salad was the highlight of my last sojourn with Burma Lane. The tea leaves are pickled so that they have a certain piquancy, reminiscent almost of blue cheese. The wilted pickled leaves are stabilised by the generous mix of crunchy shallots, broad beans, sesame seeds and peanuts. The addition of tomato adds a subtle sweetness to this salad dish. Whilst I do not usually make friends with salad, I would happily become form a blood pact with this one.
We were assured by the friendly waitress that dessert would be on the lighter side. I was unsure I could fit it in, but my second stomach decided to take on the challenge. A pretty pink rhubarb semifreddo with a tart rhubarb fondant, clotted vanilla cream and crispy puffed wild rice was plonked in front of us. The texture of the semifreddo was refreshingly creamy and the perfect way to reset the palate after the journey of Burmese flavours.
Burma Lane is an enjoyable foray into Burmese fusion, something that has not yet been overbaked in Melbourne’s dining scene.