Burma Lane, the latest restaurant from the Red Spice Road team, is now open at 118 Little Collins Street.
The restaurant grew out of a sell-out event during the 2013 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, when the Red Spice Road team decided to showcase the lesser-known Asian cuisine of Burma.
When the opportunity came later this year to take over an exceptional site in Little Collins Street, the group decided to turn the event into a restaurant.
“It was a chance to interpret the cuisine of Burma for Melbourne,” says Head Chef Adam Trengove. “We’ve interpreted the foods of Thailand and Vietnam at Red Spice Road, both in McKillop Street and at QV. We’re all committed to the foods of south-east Asia, and Burmese food is not nearly so well known in Melbourne. It’s a great opportunity for us. And we all love the food.”
The two-storey restaurant, formerly a modern Chinese restaurant, is furnished in shades of grey and black, with comfortable Thonet seats, bird-cage lighting, and images of Burmese life – photographs and local art. The kitchen provides a range of Burmese food, including salads, curries, fish, and noodle dishes.
“These are good dishes for sharing,” says the chef. “The tables aren’t communal, as they are at Red Spice Road in McKillop Street, but we expect most people will want to share a starter or two, a curry, a noodle dish, a salad.”
Burmese food shows some influence from neighbouring countries, such as India and China. It includes noodles and rice, curries, the use of dry spices, and seafood.
Staff in the restaurant are all Red Spice Road veterans. Sharing the kitchen with ex-McKillop Head Chef Adam Trengove are Jenny Nguyen, who left her university studies four years ago because she wanted to cook, and Leon Limbrick, a New-Zealand born former butcher who spent some time in Burma with the NZ army.
The restaurant manager is Shaun Moorhouse, himself from the Red Spice Road QV Establishment.
The restaurant is dominated by an image of Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s opposition leader and great pro-democracy leader. The Freedom to Lead image was created by Shepard Fairey, US contemporary artist and graphic designer, to raise awareness of her life and work.
Burma Lane supports a range of charities in Burma through its association with Pomelo, an umbrella group that supports the disadvantaged with practical training and financial aid, allowing them to create self-sustaining communities.
The restaurant is open for lunch from Monday to Friday, noon-3pm, and for dinner from Monday to Saturday, 6pm-late.
118 Little Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
(between Exhibition and Russell Streets)
Myanmar is the name given to the country in 1989 by the ruling junta. The democracy movement prefers the name Burma.
Apples and Pears Entertainment Group
Apples and Pears Entertainment Group is a restaurant group established in 2007. It's core restaurant is the Red Spice Road Group, along with Burma Lane and The Orchid Room Function Centre.
The Group is managed by Gavin van Staden and John McLeay.
Gavin van Staden