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Eating Out
Crafting a better cafe
POSTED | 16:38 PM | 11-01-2016

Crafting a better cafe

-- By Eli Meixler

Let’s get it out of the way: Craft Killiney is not a microbrewery. Nor, unfortunately, is the Yaw Min Gyi newcomer a craft beer bar, though with an enviable location and a three-storey space, complete with a sprawling rooftop, it would make for a killer pub. The Singaporean-styled cafe may, however, just be the Yangon neighborhood’s best daytime workspace.  

The menu, which offers all-day breakfast and lunch items, reads like a concise primer of Western diner classics (French toast, eggs any style, spaghetti, burgers) and Singaporean favorites (kaya toast, mee siam, laksa). My dining companion and I decided to split the difference, ordering one dish from the breakfast and lunch sides of the menu, one Western, one Singaporean. The laksa (K4000), a hearty bowl of noodles topped with boiled eggs, sprouts, prawns and a dab of chilli in a bone-sticking coconut broth, made for a very satisfying lunch. Some diners may find themselves overwhelmed by the taste of fish paste, however, while I was turned off by the chicken sausage slices, which never fail to remind me of rubber bands.

My companion’s eggs benedict (K4000), served with ham and lettuce on toast, was more of an open-face sandwich than the traditional brunch staple. The eggs, though, were just about perfectly cooked – the whites soft and pillowy, the yolks gloriously runny. Lettuce added a nice bit of freshness, but also protected the bread from soaking up yolk and hollandaise, robbing us of a potentially wonderful, rich, eggy mess.

We also sampled the side baked potato, which came topped with chives, bacon bits and a cream sauce that tasted suspiciously like salad cream (a tangy mayonnaise, for the Americans).

Like any good Singaporean kopitiam, Craft takes their caffeine seriously. The coffee, a custom blend of Latin American and Myanmar beans, is roasted in-house and priced to please the wallet – an espresso will run you K1700, and a cappuccino goes for K3000. My iced coffee (K2500 black, K3500 with milk), served in an indulgently large mason jar, was bitter and strong, and put a welcome kick into my afternoon. My dining companion, not a coffee drinker, ordered an orange “ice blend fruit” (K2500), a frothy, fresh-squeezed juice that will be just the thing when the temperatures start to rise again.

Craft also has a display case of baked goods, from which we selected a cashew brownie and croissant for the road. We soon wished we hadn’t, though – both were dry and dense, and screamed for a liquid supplement. They were also both K2000, which was more than incentive enough to stick to the savoury options next time.

But among the numerous options for a weekday workspace in the Yaw Min Gyi area, Craft clearly has some things going for it: The space is bright, airy and well air-conditioned; the coffee is strong; the Wi-Fi is speedy; and there may be a rooftop garden in the works. On our afternoon visit, there were already half-a-dozen patrons camped out with laptops – some of them in the quieter upstairs lounge area. With an appealing ground beef burger on the menu for only K5000, I may soon join them.

Article courtesy of The Myanmar Times.

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