Sunday, August 20, 2017

Italian fare, Sanchaung style

Myanmar in April may not seem like the ideal time for a big, hearty Italian lunch.

A seafood pasta. Lae Phyu Pya Myo Myint/ The Myanmar TimesA seafood pasta. Lae Phyu Pya Myo Myint/ The Myanmar Times

But – thanks to a strong air conditioning unit – this was the perfect way to spend a recent Sunday afternoon mother and daughter date.

We chose the newly-opened Café Dibar Sanchaung Bal. It is the Sanchaung version of Café Dibar on Kabar Aye Pagoda Road.

The outside of the restaurant is probably the closest you’ll get to an Italian exterior in this city (a very low bar) – a facade painted in a Mediterranean-inspired blue and white.

Inside, full marks for effort, but the Italia look is not quite nailed. The rustic theme includes a variety of antiques (radios, telephones and the like) with a collection of dry rose bouquets.

The menu is extensive – there’s a good mix of pastas (starting at just K5,000), all sorts of pizzas (from the very Italian margherita to the anything-but-Italian Hawaiian) and international meats including Australian beef (K12,000) and New Zealand lamb (K12,000).

We started with a very satisfying spaghetti pescatora (K5,000). However, I’m not that familiar with the al dente style of Italian pasta. But we were told that locals can order the pasta cooked more like what we’re used to.

The pork dish.The pork dish.

Next we took a trip to nearby Spain with a chicken paella (K5,000). Why this departure from Italy? Because what’s a meal in Yangon without rice!

The dish combined chicken, tomatoes, mushrooms and yellow chili. Full marks for this dish. It was a European offering that my Myanmar palate handled with ease.

The pork chops (K6,000) were the final highlight. The meat was succulent and the sauces were delicious. A wine pairing (a house red or white is K4,000 a glass) was also on offer but I wasn’t drinking.

In Italian style, we finished our meals with coffee.

I’ll likely return to Café Dibar Sanchaung Bal – and not just for the air conditioning.

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