Lahpet brings beautiful Burmese cuisine to Shoreditch

THE wonderful flavours of Burmese cooking are pretty hard to find in London; there are apparently just three restaurants in town that specialise in the cuisine of this south-east Asian nation. Thankfully now there’s Lahpet – an elegantly vibrant spot in the middle of the East End where you’ll find an impressive range of authentic dishes served in a beautiful space. It also helps that the restaurant’s two founders – Dan Anton and Head Chef Zaw Mahesh – both have Burmese heritage, which makes their project feel particularly legitimate. Anton’s father is half-Burmese, whilst Mahesh was born in in Kalaw and raised in Mogok, relocating to the UK ten years ago to pursue a career as a chef (past credentials include the Corinthia Hotel and Daylesford Organic).

The dining room at Lahpet. Photograph: Katherine Werner

Bordered by India and Thailand, it’s no surprise that Burmese flavours rely quite heavily on coconut and fragrant spices, as well as staple ingredients like ginger, split pea and shallots. But there are some truly unique moments too, where you feel as though you are experiencing something really quite original. During our visit, we started with two salads, which have no doubt already become signature dishes for the restaurant.

Lahpet translates from Burmese as tea, so trying the lahpet thohk (tea leaf salad) was essential. It was a stunning amalgamation of flavours and textures – pickled tea and fried beans mixed with noodle-like slithers of cabbage and garlic oil. This was complemented by the ginger salad (gin thohk) that was bright and fiery. We would have been perfectly happy to end our meal right there, given how delicious and generously proportioned the salads were.

Tea Leaf Salad. Photograph: Katherine Werner

Suffice to say, we kept going: this time to the large plates section of the menu, where we selected the hake masala and stuffed aubergine, and then onto “bowls” where we chose the coconut noodles with chicken. Lahpet does sauces extremely well – the hake was accompanied by a dark, nourishing gravy, whilst the noodles (star of the night?) sat in a sweeter, creamier emulsion. It was liquid heaven.

Coconut Noodles. Photograph: Katherine Werner

For libations, you’ll be looked after by the brilliant barman Alessio, who makes all of the syrups himself, and has a knack for quickly understanding your tastes. The cocktails on offer use exciting ingredients (betel leaf tequila, cardamom, marmalade) and are delicious and subtle. Choose the Ginger Club (vanilla vodka and bitters) for a spectacular-tasting beverage.

Strawberry Cocktail. Photograph: Katherine Werner

And if you think Asian dining means limited desert options, think again. The orange and semolina cake was gorgeous, as were both of the ice creams.

Lahpet is bringing some breathtaking cooking to the capital – us Londoners are a lucky bunch.

By Derby Jones

58 Bethnal Green Road
London E1 6JW
Tel: 0203 883 5629

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