Located downstairs of Yangon’s biggest hotel, Lotte, La Seine is a cool and clean all-day buffet dining restaurant that appeals particularly to those with a liking for all things Eastern. We were invited to an experience of the restaurant on a midweek evening in December.
My friend – a fellow buffet connoisseur – and I first had a quick overview of the offerings, mentally scheduling what order to eat which dishes and registering the unmissable and the omissible.
A dim sum counter, Peking duck, roast beef, pasta and noodle section, curries of Korean, Chinese and Burmese influence and a stir fry counter and to our right; salads, seafood, sushi and sashimi to our left; breads, cheeses, deserts and sweets to the front; smiling and friendly chefs and staff members all around.
As Restaurant Manager Oakkar Kyaw explained, the concept of the restaurant is to move away from the typical buffet style of restaurant and have a personalized experience of the dishes. To facilitate this, ‘stations’ are dotted around the buffet floor and you can give whatever weird or wonderful specifications to the chef who will prepare your dish right in from of you in exactly the way you want it.
“We have teppanyaki at the Japanese counter which is very rare to see in a buffet restaurant,” said Oakkar Kyaw.
Not surprisingly, the Burmese fish curry is spot on—the sauce tantalizingly sweet and the fish very fresh. The Chinese-style duck curry is cooked to perfection with the perfect sauce-to-meat ratio. The Korean style fried pork was the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. The beef and black bean stir fry went down particularly well with my eating partner.
The dim sum was fresh and with a great variety. There was a limited selection of sushi though perhaps that is a sign of the care the chefs take to serve only the freshest. It was indeed very crunchy and fresh.
In the western section, the roast beef was well seasoned though definitely on the dry side. I tried a bite of spaghetti Bolognese which was surprisingly rich with a good, smoky depth of flavour—one of the better versions of the dish available in Yangon. The pizza slices are a good option for kids. For me, a highlight was the seafood gratin—sumptuously creamy, perfectly seasoned and generously packed with juicy seafood.
Finally, we delighted at the selection of cheeses and breads. The European in me rejoiced at the sight of rye and other fresh and savoury breads and we piled on slices of goats cheese, gouda, blue cheese and mature cheddar. We were really surprised at the quality and variety of desserts—there were just so many to choose from and the tremendous and colourful display made it very hard to select. Ultimately, it was the carrot cake and cinnamon swirl that really won us over.
The cinnamon swirl was among the best I’ve ever had—moist and not too sweet but very rich with subtle caramel undertones.
On Friday and Saturday evenings, the buffet is upgraded to a seafood special buffet. There are private rooms of interchangeable sizes which can take 20 to 50 people and the restaurant in total can seat 200 diners. The restaurant starts with a breakfast buffet from 6 to 10am and continues to lunch from 11.30am to 2.30pm with dinner from 6 to 10pm.
The restaurant provides a very charming surprise for those celebrating a birthday so be sure to mention if it is a birthday gathering at the booking stage. What exactly it is, I’ll leave for you to find out!
“I want our service to be so good that people are walking out of here in tears of happiness.”