Review: Le Petit Comptoir de Rangoon is a little corner of Paris in Yangon

Beef bourguignon was a feast of flavors, though pricey at K18,000 ($15). Photo / Coconuts Yangon.

This month’s devastating attacks on Paris struck at the heart of French culture. By targeting restaurants and music venues, the terrorists took a shot at the twin joys of good music and food shared with friends.
 
It felt fitting, then, to spend Thanksgiving at Le Petit Comptoir de Rangoon, the new French bistro that opened recently on Yaw Min Gyi Street.
 
One of the newest additions to the neighborhood’s flourishing dining scene, the place occupies a narrow slice of the street, marked out by its rustic furnishings. A stream of photos posted to its Facebook page show plates of hearty, sauce-drenched meals snapped with a smartphone.

Little fanfare marked the opening but, on recent nights, the place has been packed. Through the wooden window frames, groups of boisterous men and women can be glimpsed. Warm light and conversation spills out onto the street.  

All meals come with a generous helping of French bread. Photo / Le Petit Comptoir de Rangoon.

Thursday started off quietly. At one of the tables, a woman wearing a black dress, red lipstick and Converse kicked back over a beer. (She turned out to be one of the managers.) The other was occupied by an elegant couple who looked to be in their mid-forties, locked in quiet conversation over a bottle of red.
 
The BYOB wine policy – with K5,000 for corkage – adds to the informal atmosphere created by the coziness of the space and its simple décor. Vintage movie posters are dotted on the plain white walls and folksy masks hang on the door to the bathroom.
 
The menu, printed on paper, is equally accessible, with classics like bouillabaisse, beef bourguignon and sea bass with lemon risotto.
 
We started with a pomelo salad which was fresh and tasty, though probably a touch too simple for the K7,000 price-tag. The hearty mains were much better. Befitting the name, vol-au-vents (K14,500) came perfectly ‘windblown’, served with chunks of chicken and soft slices of mushroom drenched in a slick, buttery white wine sauce ripe to be sopped up by the fluffy puff pastry. Beef bourguignon (K18,000) was a feast of flavors, the meat tender and red wine sauce thick and spicy.

Chicken vol-au-vents was delightfully buttery. Photo / Coconuts Yangon.

To finish, a dense chocolate mousse (K9,000) served on a crisp biscuit base and doused in tangy berry coulis. Parfait.
 
By the time we left, two tables were full. Groups of stylish men and women chatted as bottles of Myanmar’s finest were opened. Slowly but surely, a gentle hubbub was building.
 
Le Petit Comptoir de Rangoon can be found at #42 Yaw Min Gyi Street. It’s open Sunday through Monday, for lunch and dinner.
 

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