For nearly two decades, the road to Mandalay has been the Edgware Road. This looked set to change at the end of 2013, as the Ally family were planning to move their tiny, modest restaurant into larger and better premises in the more swish surroundings of Paddington Basin. In the end, they have decided to stay put and undergo an extensive refurbishment as well as a change of name.
Mandalay features home-style, welcoming and informative service, and cooking that accurately reflects the staples of Bamar food. The ten tightly packed tables are full each night with a mix of students, Burmaphiles and a few expats (best make a reservation). Burma’s food draws influence from its bordering countries (India/Bangladesh, China and Thailand) and is served at bargain prices here. Curries, noodle dishes, fried snacks and salads are put together in inventive ways, often with a hot, sour, or sweet mix of spices and herbs – there’s plenty of choice for vegetarians.