THE COR­NER TA­BLE Grand view, pity about the food

Mizzima Business Weekly - - CONTENTS - By Marnix Krouwel

Agnes, a French restau­rant in the Kan­daw­gyi Palace Ho­tel, must be one of the most ex­pen­sive din­ing op­tions in Yan­gon. But does this up­scale eatery serve fine food worth the elab­o­rate bill it presents to cus­tomers at the end of a culi­nary evening?

The decor at Agnes is kitschy, with painted golden swirls dec­o­rat­ing the walls against a back­drop of scenic Kan­daw­gyi Lake and the shim­mer­ing Sh­wedagon Pagoda. The at­mos­phere is ro­man­tic and, frankly, a bit awk­ward. As is the ser­vice. Chilled red wine is a ba­sic mis­take one doesn’t ex­pect a re­fined restau­rant to make. The same can be said for stale bread served with but­ter in plas­tic pack­ets. Per­fectly fine at your reg­u­lar restau­rant, but not at an up­scale fine din­ing joint boast­ing French cui­sine of the high­est stan­dard.

We de­cided on the set menu. But be­fore that we tried another main: rack of lamb. The lamb ar­rived in a timely man­ner. It was dry, though, and there was even a hint of un­pleas­ant­ness bor­der­ing on meat gone ran­cid.

The set menu was a hit and miss af­fair. The amuse of fresh white tuna carpac­cio with berg­amot was del­i­cate and tasty. Less so was the fen­nel and ap­ple soup, a wa­tery sub­stance strug­gling with an iden­tity cri­sis. The beef ten­der­loin main came with pass­able but flat risotto and mus­tard sauce, ac­cord­ing to the menu. The lat­ter was not ev­i­dent on the plate.

At this point we were long­ing for the jour­ney home, but be­fore we could reach for our coats the dessert ar­rived. It was ad­ver­tised as a pas­sion fruit pan­na­cotta with co­conut ice cream. Our mis­ery deep­ened when the co­conut ice cream ex­hib­ited a taste sim­i­lar to that of truffles and the pan­na­cotta com­bined the heavy tex­ture of cheese­cake with a soggy bot­tom that lacked even the slight­est hint of crunch.

It was a homely ges­ture to be of­fered a com­pli­men­tary plate of three small desserts, but we had to ter­mi­nate gus­ta­tory re­cip­ro­ca­tion after en­coun­ter­ing a cherry of dis­con­cert­ing tex­ture that was ob­vi­ously way past its ex­piry date. We re­turned this of­fend­ing piece of fruit to the del­i­cate glass cup in which it was served. A mushy mac­a­roon fur­ther alien­ated us. Was this yet another left­over of yes­ter­day’s crop?

The tea or cof­fee that was sup­posed to round off the set menu failed to ma­te­ri­alise.

The view was su­perb and the decor, although kitschy bor­der­ing on the hi­lar­i­ous, was fine but the food at Agnes was a big dis­ap­point­ment. We don’t ex­pect culi­nary ex­cel­lence in a for­mer back­wa­ter des­ti­na­tion that has yet to re­cover from fifty years of mil­i­tary rule, but when we say shin-me and are pre­sented with a bill of $127 for two meals and one glass of wine, we ex­pect cer­tain stan­dards to ap­ply. In this case we would’ve have been bet­ter off spend­ing K2,500 on rice, whet tha hin and condi­ments at Danupyu Daw Saw Yee on 29th Street.

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