Monday, September 25, 2017

A local diner keeps it simple

The striking black and white decor at Mr Chef is enough to wake up diners even through the high temperatures of a summer afternoon. Black and white paintings decorate the tables. The sofas are black and white, and so are the walls. There’s air-con, and the tables are topped with small colourful vases of flowers.

Photos: Aung Htay HlaingPhotos: Aung Htay Hlaing

My dining partner and I visited the Tarmwe township location of this restaurant chain, where you can eat Chinese, Thai and traditional Myanmar curries with rice. There are franchises also at Dagon Center II, Ruby Mart and AKK mall.

Kyaw Zaw Linn opened the first Mr Chef in Dagon Center II in 2010. “I want my restaurants to be a place to rest and eat after you’re tired from shopping,” he said. “I offer one-set dishes [rice with curry] because you don’t need to calculate how much things cost and you don’t need to share the food.”

All Mr Chefs boast the same black-and-white colours, a scheme chosen by Kyaw Zaw Linn with the desire to create a family-restaurant ambience. “Except at Kyauk Myaung, we don’t sell beer or any alcoholic beverages because we hope our main customers are students, families and friends after shopping,” he said. “I chose the name Mr Chef because when we hear those words, it makes us think of food and it makes us hungry.”

All the chefs at the restaurant are local, and are trained by the chef-in-chief who works at the Dagon branch. They offer 70 different dishes in categories including appetizers, soup and dim sum, noodles, salads and mains. For cold drinks and dessert there are frappés, sodas, smoothies, ice cream and other confections.

I chose a yogurt and kiwi blend while my companion went for the blueberry soda, both priced at K1800. As a starter, I ordered fried sausage with seaweed from among many small dishes priced at K2500.

For our mains, we ordered chicken curry in Kachin traditional style (with bamboo roots, chilli, coriander, sour mustard and carrot) and fried kimchi rice (with sour vegetables in Korean traditional sauce) and fried pork ribs. The dishes cost only K2700 and K2800.

After a few minutes our drinks arrived and they were even fresher and more attractive than we’d hoped. Though neither of the juices were served cold enough (just with a little ice), we liked their taste and forgot our hot-weather woes.

The fried sausage with seaweed tasted good to me, but I wanted it fried crisper, as it was a bit chewy.

Rice with chicken curry was nice but spiced on the hot side. It was the same for the fried rice with pork ribs. The chicken curry was well-cooked in red chilli paste, but it won’t appeal to diners who don’t like sweet and rich food.

We ordered ice cream to cool our tongues. The “banana boat” is filled with three kinds of ice cream, including chocolate, vanilla and milk, and chopped banana (K1500). It was average compared to other similar restaurants, except for the attractive decoration with banana and chocolate sprinkles.

The free Wi-Fi is easy to connect to and of so-so quality. But factor in the air-con and you’ll find Mr Chef is a pleasant choice for weary budget diners with a taste for black-and-white fashions and reliable Myanmar and Asian dishes.

Restaurant Rating