Mandalay, a family-run Burmese delight
I love trying new cuisines, and London has so far introduced me to many, including Eritrean, Vietnamese, Korean and more. Burmese was yet another new discovery, and Mandalay was a wonderful place to have this first experience.
I had heard a lot about Mandalay from a variety of different people, yet I didn’t actually visit until December. I recommend making a reservation, as this tiny place only has around 6 tables, and it was full when we got there. We squished into our table and perused the menu, and I immediately wanted to order everything. Luckily, the owner came over and recommended one or two dishes per category, so we ended up sharing the raw papaya and cucumber salad, the chili king prawns, and the lamb in tamarind sauce.
I would never have ordered the papaya salad, but my friend had eaten at Mandalay before and recommended it highly. It was absolutely incredible! Slightly sweet, slightly sour, with an explosive flavour that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, it made me look at papaya in a whole new way. My friend doesn’t normally like cucumber, but she swears by this salad. It also had something crispy on top (onions?), and the combination just worked.
The chili king prawns were a little spicy, but not too much so, and perfectly cooked. But the real glory was the lamb. Succulent, tender, with a sauce that we mopped up with both the naan and our tongues, it was some of the best lamb I’ve ever tasted. I would go back just for that!
The prices at Mandalay are ridiculously reasonable – all mains are under £10 (even under £8 for some) and of supreme quality. The atmosphere is cosy and familiar, and their awards accolade is very impressive. I cannot recommend it enough, and I know I’ll definitely be back very soon!
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