Innlay Asia: A Bite of Burma
I was on a hunt. A food hunt more specifically. Even more specific was the fact that I was hunting for one particular dish – Khow Suey (that’s how I know it as), a traditional Burmese one-dish noodle soup made of egg noodles and chicken with coconut milk and served with a variety of contrasting condiments. I was introduced to this dish at Busaba (Colaba) in Bombay and it’s been my go-to comfort dish ever since.
My hunt threw me an absolutely delightful surprise when I heard about Innlay Asia. An absolutely unassuming little eatery nestled in one of the JLT clusters which serves up South-East Asian cuisine including Thai, Chinese, Burmese, Singaporean and Vietnamese. It’s one of those eateries that is waiting to be discovered and that will only happen by word-of-mouth (and I genuinely hope that by reading this, your food cravings take you in this direction).
The ambience of the restaurant is simple, clean and clutter free with a few ornaments and painting from South-East Asia adorning the walls. In restaurants like these where there are no frills to distract, you know the food will have to do the talking. There is an outdoor seating area overlooking the JLT lake which is quite nice (but you will have the luxury of outdoor only for a few more months).
Now let’s talk food! It was going to be Burma Burma Burma all the way for us when we got to the restaurant. And you know you are in absolutely the right place and in the right hands when your server says she is from Myanmar.
For starters we asked our server to suggest a dish and the Deep Fried Fish Fillet with Chilli and Crispy Onion (AED 31) was absolutely spot on. The fish was crispy on the outside yet soft and fleshy on the inside. The crispy onion gave it a nice crisp and the dried chilli add just a tad spice to the dish. It had a chilli marker next to its name on the menu and I was not sure how spicy Burmese spicy was – but for me it was mild and although I asked for a chilli sauce, the taste of the dish as-is was just so right, it felt wrong to tamper with.
For the main course, I knew what I wanted before I even got there, the question was – Is it on the menu? Well it is, but under a slightly different name than what I usually refer to it as – it is called Khauk Swel (unlike the Khow Suey I am used to) with Chicken (AED 25). Then condiments that come with it usually are – a slice of lemon, onion and chilli flakes. Of course I had to make things a little more difficult for them and asked them to also give me roasted garlic, fried onion and chopped coriander. The server was obliging and was happy to add these for me. And boy oh boy was I in food heaven. I would have like the chicken pieces to be slightly bigger so they could get onto my fork easier but then that’s a minor gripe. With all my additional condiments as well as the ones they usually serve, this dish was slurp gobble worthy.
The question of desert came about and perhaps we digressed from Burmese cusine (I am not sure) as we chose the Deep Fried Banana with Vanilla Ice Cream (AED 13). The only piece of advice I would give if you chose this is to cut the banana and let a bit of the steam come out before putting it in your mouth J Other than that, it was a perfect end to an absolutely meal.
Our total bill for 1 starter, 2 main courses, 1 dessert and 2 drinks was a value for money AED 123.
The service was extremely friendly and courteous and they do have other interesting things on the menu that are begging to be tried. So if you have a hankering for delicious Asian delights from Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and especially Myanmar – it’s time to pay Innlay Asia a visit!
Location: HDS Tower, Lobby Level, Cluster F, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT); Note: If you are going by car, parking is free for 3 hours. Open from 11am – 11pm Tel: +971 4 458 7117 of +971 50 779 5894. Home delivery (they also deliver as far out as JVC/JVT area but have a minimum order requirement of AED 75)