Location: Phnom Penh (Wat Phnom)
Cuisine: European Continental
Rating: 4.6 out of 5
Seating: Indoor & Outdoor
As my friends and I continue our tour of the premier dining spots in Phnom Penh, we embarked upon The Shop located inside the Central Mansions Hotel. As we walked in toward the restaurant we first get a glimpse of their beautiful swimming pool. The restaurant itself is quaint and has the atmosphere of a bistro. We came in for lunch into a bustling and busy crowd, signifying the popularity of this eatery. The menu is simple, focusing on the classic offerings as opposed to one that was too large and cluttered with unnecessary items.
I started the meal with a tomato basil soup as I usually like to begin with some sort of appetizer. It was a cream based soup rich with flavor, but perfectly cut with the slightly pungent taste of the basil. The soup was accompanied by shredded cheese, chopped bacon and a large crouton covered in parsley butter. My friend began his meal with a moussaka which I was surprised to learn later was a vegetarian offering. I could not tell as the combination of vegetables and the chickpea puree gave it an earthy texture and flavor that made it one of favorite dishes of the day.
I wanted to go with a simple main so I ordered the classic burger. The quality of the meat revealed itself from the first bite as the patty was moist, juicy and perfectly ground. It was of course cooked to a perfect medium rare and did not need any condiments as it was served with a homemade tomato jam. And topped with bacon because everything is better with bacon. My friend went with the grilled salmon served on a bed of mashed potatoes and vegetables on the side. I did not sample this dish but it cut perfectly, flaky on the fork and cooked to a perfect medium.
The service at The Shop is impeccable with all of the servers taking great care of each table. They were very friendly, competent and knowledgeable of the menu and this week's specials. The menu includes items for all meals of the day so be sure to make The Shop your next stop on your culinary journey.
Location: Phnom Penh (BKK1)
Cuisine: Japanese (sushi)
Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0
Seating: Indoor (private and group seating)
In the land of "same-same" and close enough, one can find a few faults even in the best restaurants of Phnom Penh. Whether it's an otherwise great burger that has not been cooked to the correct temperature or pasta that has been overcooked, getting western food absolutely right is a difficult task for local chefs who do not eat the food themselves. Sushi most definitely fits into this category as fresh fish is surprisingly difficult to come by in the Kingdom and for the local "chefs" who prepare the dishes are not yet adept at the art that is sushi preparation. This is why Adachi was an astounding place to visit as the cuts of fish presented to us were nothing like any other sushi restaurant in the city. The fish is absolutely fresh and tastes as if it has never seen the inside of a freezer.
I would recommend something but literally everything we ordered was fresh and delicious. If I had to pick one dish it would have to be the eel as it is common to present this dish with an over salty flavor, but at Adachi the balance of flavors was near perfection.
The food is beautifully presented with artful decoration, although it is hardly needed given the vibrant and fresh appearance of the fish themselves. There is also careful attention to detail such as the freshly grated wasabi, instead of the kind that comes out of a tube.
There are many other types of Japanese fare besides sushi at Adachi. We also sampled the Karage (Japanese fried chicken), which surprisingly was made of white meat but just as surprising remained moist and juicy. There were no sauces that accompanied the dish but it was hardly needed as the chicken itself was properly seasoned and full of flavor. The tempura platter we ordered was a good mix of seafood and vegetables and once again the careful attention to detail can be seen in the final product. The batter is light, yet crispy and the delicious morsels that it housed were not overcooked and done to perfection.
Something that I was not told until after the meal is that all of the chefs at Adachi are Japanese and are properly trained in the art of sushi preparation. This is a statement that very few, if any, restaurants in Phnom Penh can make and the difference is shown in the quality of the food and presentation. I cannot recommend this establishment enough and while the menu is on the pricier side, I am confident that you will find it well worth it.
Location: Phnom Penh
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
It is amazing how many restaurants I still am able to discover after having lived in Cambodia for over 6 years. Recently I declared that the best steak in town is at Pacow's and while that is still a fine establishment, I recently had the pleasure of dining at Armand's Bistro who's steak offerings far surpass anyone else's. I ordered the Kampot Pepper Steak which was $29 for what looked like about 200g.
Unlike most other restaurants the steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare. Given the char on the outside it looked like it was started in the pan to give it a nice crust and then put in the oven. Considering that it was actually finished off table side as the server flambeed it in the pepper sauce, the fact that it was not over cooked was an impressive feat
I usually start most dinners with an appetizer and this night was no different as I ordered the charcuterie which was a perfect balance of meats, terrines and pates. I ordered the small one for $9 but cannot even imagine how big the large order would have been as my order was plentiful. My friends enjoyed a tournedos rossini steak and a grilled salmon, both of which were cooked to perfection.
The service at Armand's was impeccable as the servers were attentive to our table throughout the meal and were very knowledgeable in all aspects of the menu. The ambiance is warm, welcome and truly inviting as they have remained faithful to the aesthetic of a French bistro. The owner Armand seems to be at the restaurant on most nights and was welcoming as well as he came over to our table to say hello and introduce himself to new guests. The restaurant is open nightly until midnight so it is a great place for poker players who keep later hours.
Cambodian Food Scene
Cambodia is surprisingly filled with many great restaurants, from inexpensive to those closer to Western prices. These are just a collection of my favorite places to eat throughout the country.