After a busy day shopping and a visit to the awe-inspiring Shwedagon Pagoda, we were ready to celebrate what had been a surprisingly uplifting and memorable trip to Myanmar on our last night in Yangon. Encouraged by our experience at L’Alchimiste, we were looking forward to dining at Le Planteur – arguably what many locals consider to be the best place to dine in Yangon. Feeling festive, we donned our smartest and braced ourselves for the taxi ride back to the Inya Lake area.
Located a few streets away from Yangon University, Le Planteur sits on an acre of waterfront gardens, occupying a sizeable colonial mansion. The interior is divided into several dining spaces, in addition to an outdoor lounge terrace and al fresco dining area, expertly renovated and furnished to a high standard. Worthy of a spread in any interiors magazines, the decor combines lots of modern touches with antiques from the era, to create a unique atmosphere that bridges old Burma with today’s Myanmar. Michelin-starred chef Felix Eppisser serves a menu of continental cuisine, with French and Asian influences throughout. As expected, the menu consists of traditional staples like fois gras terrine, duck breast and mille feuilles, alongside more contemporary dishes including wagyu beef and sashimi.
Arriving for dinner feels like an occasion in itself when you step out into the gardens. As is common to our dining ritual, we wanted to have a glass of fizz on the spectacular terrace prior to our dinner. The setting really is something to behold. In such high spirits, we were even willing to forgive the tiniest measure of champagne I think we’ve ever been served. When it was time to eat, we were led down a candle-lit stairway and shown to our table surrounded by well-heeled locals, hearing at least a dozen languages being spoken on the short route from cocktail lounge to dinner table.
The restaurant offers the option to do a six-course tasting menu, but we opted to order off the a la carte menu instead. Our choice of wine for the evening was a 2014 Joel Robouchon rosé from Provence, which was the perfect companion to my starter of red tuna sashimi with wasabi ice-cream. Following this I had a delicious beef filet with béarnaise sauce and Mediterranean vegetables, ending the night with one of my dessert favourites: a coconut parfait with mango mousse and fresh mango slices.
Service was attentive and relaxed instead of the usual brisk pace, and for once I was content to just string out the night at a leisurely tempo. This is a venue where you’re almost encouraged to linger. As we were finishing up, a parade of geese waddled across the garden en route back to the lake – not something you encounter in a restaurant everyday, and a whimsical punctuation point to bring the lovely evening to an end. Very kindly, the gracious maitre d’ offered to organise one of their complimentary cars to take us back to the Shangri-la. Heaven.
This was sophisticated dining at its finest. It would be very easy to discount the dining scene in an emerging city like Yangon as ‘basic’. Le Planteur holds its own when benchmarked against the mainstay requisites needed of any great restaurant; polished service, quality food ingredients and a well thought-out menu, proving you can have a foodie experience in even the most unlikely of destinations. Not to be missed on your Yangon itinerary.
Restaurant – 9/10
Experience – 9/10