Canberra icon Burmese Curry Place will be closing at the end of month, ending the eight year run of the takeaway powerhouse.
The closure owes to an unresolved dispute with the landlord. The Chan family, who own BCP, will take an indefinite hiatus while scouting a new venue.
“It’s heart breaking to admit and more so to accept that this is real,” said Mehnsaik Chan, the family’s second eldest son.
“We really didn’t want this to happen, and with us not being in control of certain agendas, we’d like to say that this last month is going to be tough but things won’t change, we’re still ready to serve until the day we can’t.”
“For those who know our family, especially my parents, have had one of the hardest years – both physically and mentally – which we still are all recovering our best from.”
The restaurant was opened in 2009 by Mi-Mee and Nai Chan, members of Burma’s oppressed Mon people, who came to Australia fleeing the horrors of the Burmese civil war.
The couple arrived in Canberra with minimal cash and a skeleton English vocabulary. In a stunning rags-to-riches story, they got their start growing Asian vegetables at the Lion Club community garden, where they saved the money to start the business.
Nai, the father of the family, learnt how to speak English from a family friend. While Mi-Mee, whose family run a restaurant on the Thai border, developed the BCP’s smorgasbord curry offering, adjusting Burmese recipes for Australian palates.
They rented the location from a former bookshop and used $100,000 of their own money to install a kitchen, which they built themselves.
The end result, unpretentiously named Burmese Curry Place, was a stable nine piece menu in a convenient location at low prices—all of which endeared it to inner north bohemians, students and civil servants alike.
“I’m really devastated to hear this. One of the best things about working in the city was being 30 seconds away from BCP. I hope they find somewhere else soon and that it’s not too far away.” said Matthew Schofield, contractor to the Department of Infrastructure.
“I’ve been going to BCP since I first arrived in Canberra in 2010 and the 3 & 8 never failed, I really hope they manage to find a new place to set up,” said Rahul Balan, a lawyer in the city.
The restaurant was staffed exclusively by family members. Regulars watched down the years as the children grew up.
What were your favourite combos everyone? 4 & 5 here.