Like many of London’s most exciting restaurants, Lahpet started life as a marketplace pop-up. The team received great reviews and hungry hoards queued up for the comforting Burmese food. Dan Anton, who is part Burmese, wanted to introduce Londoners to his authentic cuisine with regional specialities and Myanmar staples. After a brief stint in a reclaimed warehouse in Hackney, Lahpet has recently found a permanent home in the heart of Shoreditch, on Bethnal Green Road.
The new restaurant is spacious and attractive, with warm lighting, leafy decoration and a lively soundtrack. We sat at a comfy banquette and within minutes were sipping green tea and awaiting a feast of recommended dishes.
Before visiting Lahpet I was a complete novice of Burmese food, unsure but excited about what to expect. The spread arrived smelling delicious, an array of salads and small plates, main plates and quirky sides.
Immediately I noticed the variety of recipes, textures and tastes. ‘Lahpet’ means ‘Tea Leaf’, and this ingredient features a couple of times in various dishes. The signature dish is the Lahpet salad, a mix of slightly bitter fermented tea leaves with tangy tomatoes and herbs – it is light, balanced and surprisingly tasty. Continuing with the tea leaf theme, you can also order the Lamb and Lahpet, a more substantial main dish.
Most memorable for me were the Sweetcorn and Shan Tofu fritters, satisfyingly crisp little fritters with a soft and indulgent centre. I also enjoyed the Yellow Pea Paratha, a traditional soft bread filled with fragrant spiced peas.
Of the larger dishes, the Pork & Mustard Green Curry is a wholesome dish, the fatty and delicious pork meat was melt-in-the-mouth wonderful and the thick aromatic sauce was moreish and rich. For a lighter option, order the Coconut noodles with chicken, I found this steaming bowl irresistible, soft noodles take on the flavour of the lightly spiced coconut sauce, with a hint of lime and coriander.
After trying most of the savoury dishes I thought it was only polite to taste the solo dessert offering. The pudding description was initially a little baffling – Banana & Semolina cake with ice-cream, chocolate & caramelised peanut. The semolina cake was moist flavoured intensely with sesame. The refreshing ice-cream was dairy-free, it was pleasant in flavour and topped with peanut brittle. All in all though, this sweet dish pales in comparison to the vibrant savoury plates.
You can try Lahpet’s brilliant Burmese food at the Shoreditch restaurant or at their stall in Old Spitalfields food market. More information and book a table at Lahpet here.