Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Burmese House (Richmond)

Burmese House, at 303 Bridge Rd., is one of three Burmese restaurants in Melbourne. It has a multi level seating arrangement with a small downstairs area shared by the kitchen and the diners, an upstairs bare brick wall area that seats 40 and a single table at a separate level which was probably once a store room. It is a family run restaurant with chef Mimi and her brother cooking. We had a number of courses rather than the Burmese national dish which is a sort of vermicelli soup a little reminiscent of the Vietnamese pho, being a meal in itself.
For entrĂ©e we began with Boothi fritters with Tamarind sauce ($9.5) which are pieces of marrow, known as silky melon, in a light tempura batter. The light sweetish sauce was pleasant, the crunchy batter and marrow totally bland. We then tried the deep fried fish cakes with sour cucumber sauce ($9.5 for three pieces). They use an imported fish which I’ve not previously heard of – Featherback, it is cooked so that there is an outer very tough and chewy case around the soft centered cake. While this is the effect that they strive to achieve it only reminded me that there is a lot of rubber that comes out of Burma. The sour sauce was also unusual being uniformly sour.
A ‘refreshing’ beef salad had slices of overcooked also rather rubbery beef in a light chilli salad with cumin and coriander. A good filet woul have greatly improved this dish.
For mains we tried Mimi’s Masala Lamb Curry. Large pieces of lamb, evidently cooked for a long time, swam in a light curry sauce with a touch of chili.
Deep fried nga, which means fish, with chilli came nextand vegetarian eggplant curry. Everything had been cooked to death.
It didn’t matter much for the lamb and the eggplant was quite tender but the fish had dried to hard lumps. If I cooked fish like that at home it would go in the bin!

Taku which seems to be tapioca, palm sugar and sweet potato was quite nice though the lumps of sweet potato did nothing for the dish. We also had coconut rice which was very al dente, undercooked really, and plain boiled rice which was mushy and overcooked. The presentation of the food is uninspiring, the tastes of the sauces occasionally interesting, the food dull and the textures unpleasant. To be fair others felt more charitably disposed to it. The Age Cheapeats gives it two stars and a few years ago it was in the AGF. For me it has a returnability factor of zero.
Wine: We drank several wines from St. Annes which has no retail outlets. Their barely wooded Chardonnay was very palatable and a Dulcetti sweet white very suitable for the dessert

Price: Mains are around $18. They also do takeaway
Score 11/20

5 comments:

neil said...

You really suffered for your art with this one. I suppose with only three Burmese reastaurants, they must be difficult to reference, but poor cooking is poor cooking.

Elliot said...

Unfortunately the chefs at the other two Burmese reataurants also trained at Burmese House! It's enough to give me heartburn

Anonymous said...

It's a pity you didn't inquire further about Mimi's circumstances. Her husband died of cancer about 8 months earlier and, as it takes the person, on average, about two years to fully grieve maybe she was still mourning the loss of her husband and was not concentrating as she normally does.
Hopefully you've got over your heartburn by now (or does your acidic nature give you continuous heartburn?) and you will give the place another try.
Quilp in Richmond

Elliot & Sandra said...

Hi Quilp
We write about our experiences as we try different foods and speak of dinners in relation to how we feel. I am sorry if Mimi has family bereavements and have no idea how that might have affected our feelings on the night. In my work I have to perform to a standard of excellence and if I don't, for whatever the reason, I will get serious criticism and so do chefs.

Anonymous said...

Please don't call them chefs.lets say.....