Yangon (Rangoon) isn’t always the easiest city in which to find decent WiFi coupled with decent food — but Western-style Union Bar and Grill, though its prices are at the upper end of what you’ll typically find in the city, fits the bill.
The grill makes a good stop off for those just visiting the harbour area or those looking for an escape from traditional Burmese restaurant food and conditions. Located in an area on the far side of downtown, a few blocks away from 50th St Bar, the dining room is well lit with a slick design, while the upper lounge has cosy chairs and booths.
The well-trained staff — think Burmese tradition for attentive service partnered with Western efficiency — serve Western-style food, such as burgers, steak, fish and pasta, with drinks including cocktails, wine and beer. Expect to pay 7,000 to 8,000 kyat for a sandwich, up to 9,500 for a pizza and otherwise 9,000 up to about 26,000 for a main. We like the sound of the grilled freshwater prawns with pea risotto and garlic tomato sauce (13,000) as well as the flat iron chicken, Shan potatoes and garlic jus (12,000).
A mug of draft beer is 2,000 kyat while a martini can run up to around 6,000 kyat; espresso-based drinks start at 2,000 kyat, while a range of eccentric shakes and sodas and other non-alcoholic drinks start at 1,500 kyat.
Some Burmese dishes are on the menu, though not at Burmese prices — if you’re going to eat here, we’d go Western, and save money by keeping to elsewhere for local food. Their menu is ever-evolving, now offering lunch sets along with normal menu items as well; their Sunday brunch options are quite a treat for any rice-saturated Westerner.
The Union is popular Thursday nights in particular, when happy hour provides one of the best deals in town and is very popular with a mostly foreign clientele: two-for-one gourmet-ingredient pizzas and martinis are served up for a few hours.
During the day the same foreign crowd carries on behind their laptop screens, using the WiFi and waiting for business meetings. Smoking is permitted inside though not encouraged.
Address: 42 Strand Road, Bohtataung, Yangon
T: (094) 2010 1854
Once called a nebula of good energy, Christopher wasn't impressed by where his institutional learning took him and blames travel and wonderfully eccentric people for where he is today: Burma (Myanmar).