Mandalay Lounge Offers Alternative to $70 Burmese Tasting Menu
Burmese restaurant Mandalay quietly opened the doors of its Shaw location last week. And in addition to the seven-course, reservations-required tasting menu, as of tonight, guests will also be able to sample some of chef Aung Myint's cooking a la carte in the lounge.
The lounge, which was initially going to be located on the second floor, has switched places with the dining room on the ground level. On the lounge menu, Myint will serve some finger foods and Burmese salads including spring rolls, samosas, pork and cucumber salad, long bean salad, nut mix, dried jerk chicken, and more. Nothing is more than $10. There's also a small drink menu with cocktails, wines, and Asian beers like Tiger and Singha.
As for the tasting menu, Myint told Y&H back in August that he planned to offer the seven courses—inspired by places like Thai X-ing—for $40 on weekdays and $50 on weekends. That price has since jumped to $70. Myint says he simply miscalculated his costs. A big part of the reason is that he's not buying his ingredients from wholesalers; he's shopping for ingredients each day at Asian markets and farmers markets and paying retail prices. Myint says he's changing the menus daily with little overlap from day to day and also customizing the food to diners' dietary restrictions and preferences. "By the end of the day we have nothing in the kitchen," he says. "I'm buying exact."
Between the food prices and the costs of the delayed build-out and other expenses, Myint says $70 is what he needs to charge. But depending on how the restaurant does going forward, he's looking at ways to possibly lower the price.
"We're still trying to find ourselves," Myint says.