Let the world come to you at the academy

The Corner Table Review


When the internet took one of its inevitable downtime moments at the Mizzima office in the Pearl Condo we found ourselves on the hunt for a wi-fi connection. More outlets for a coffee or creamy ice drink are opening in the Pearl but almost without exception they are of limited use for those needing to connect with the cyberverse. They tend to lack a reliable signal, space or tranquility.

Frustrated by yet another system crash at 4pm on a Thursday, it was time to be adventurous, descend into the bowels of the Pearl and set up our laptops at the new boy on the block (Block C, actually): the grandly-titled World Training Center Barista and Bakery Academy.

A sister establishment to Pearl Condo’s Snow Factory, the WTC also operates as the bakery for its sibling. Snow Factory is a highly stylised venue and wouldn’t look out of place in the hip district of any big city in Western Europe or elsewhere. WTC has adopted a similarly ‘reclaimed’ look, though it has used more pallet timber in its design than the Snow Factory, which has relied heavily on brushed steel.

There is one alcoholic beverage on the menu: cold Irish coffee. I’m not a fan of coffee or whisky but this combination is a winner, using Jameson Irish Whiskey and retailing at K4,500. It was served to my colleague in a large wine glass and after seeing my look of appreciation, the staff brought me a small glass on the house. I had opted for the Caramel Frappacino (K3,500), which comes in both coffee and non-coffee versions. I thought I’d ordered the non-coffee version but a caffeine buzz made me wonder if the order was confused somewhere along the line.

Despite the lovely aroma of fresh bread at the WTC, food options are lim- ited and this is not a spot for a working lunch. The chocolate brownie (K1,000) is a little dry and more of a chocolate cake, but if regarded as such is quite tasty and good value. The garlic bread, at K500 for two slices, is a reasonable snack. Tragic excuses for garlic bread can be found in eateries throughout Yangon and although what’s served at the WTC wouldn’t win any global awards it’s one of the city’s better attempts.

The star of the snack show is without a doubt the Banana Bread (K800), which is moist and light and comes in a plate-sized serve. So, with your Irish Coffee and slice of banana bread, are you going to get any work done at the WTC? The answer is up to you; the tables are more attractive than practical, at least when it comes to leg room. The internet connection worked well during our visit, but please be aware that if you are in the bowels of the Pearl and expecting an important phone call, you are going to miss it.