Feastingal fresco

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					              food corner

              Feasting al fresco
              With the holiday season approaching and the celebratory meals it brings, what better
              time than to dine in the sunshine or under the stars? Be it in a garden, on a terrace, a
              rooftop or even poolside, liz ledden and Mark Jackson explore some of Phnom Penh’s
              best outdoor dining options.
                L’imPREvU                                                                                                       or out of the Toul Sleng genocide
              National Road 1, approx. 6km over                                                                                 museum opposite, the original
              Monivong Bridge, Tel: 023 360 405                                                                                 Boddhi Tree Café neverthe-
              To get away from the city for                                                                                     less has a pretty garden setting
              a day to swim, eat and relax,                                                                                     dense with greenery. The café
              L’Imprevu has the ideal set up.                                                                                   fare is fresh, tasty and healthy,
              A hotel with bungalows and a                                                                                      with original juice and shake
              large swimming pool, there’s                                                                                      concoctions and food ranging
              a pool-facing restaurant where                                                                                    from Khmer curries and stir fry
              you can sit either under shade                                                                                    dishes to western salads and
              on the terrace or dine poolside                                                                                   sandwiches, often with unique
              at a table. The French menu                                                                                       combinations of ingredients. The
              features salads (US$4 to US$6),                                                                                   food is reasonably priced, with
              grilled meats (US$8 to US$10)                                                                                     most items from US$2 to US$4.
              and traditional French fare                                                                                       There are some long chairs with
              such as steak tartare (US$6) and                                                                                  cushions better for groups and
food corner

              frogs legs (US$7) with a choice                                                                                   some smaller tables too and the
              of green pepper or Provencal                                                                                      lush courtyard space is a bit
              sauces. There are also some pan-      Tamarind: One of the best rooftop dining options in the city                different to anything else offered
              Asian dishes at US$4-5. The fully                                                                                 in the city.
              stocked bar features Belgian
              duvel beer (US$5 a bottle). To                                                                                      LE CEDRE
              make a day of it and use the                                                                                      1 Street 360, Tel: 023 997 965
              pool, it’s US$1 for kids and US$2                                                                                 Le Cedre is Phnom Penh’s only
              for adults during the week, and                                                                                   Lebanese restaurant. Dishes
              US$2 and US$4 respectively at                                                                                     range from small hot and cold
              the weekend.                                                                                                      dishes, with excellent fetta in
                                                                                                                                pastry, kibbeh, vine leaves and
                ELSEWHERE                                                                                                       dips, to Lebanese pizzas with
              175 Street 51, Tel: 023 211 348                                                                                   traditional toppings such as
              With relaxing, cushioned day-                                                                                     zaatar (a middle eastern spice
              beds dotted around the pool set                                                                                   blend). The meat dishes include
              in a lush garden, the grounds of                                                                                  a ‘baby’ chicken with garlic
              Elsewhere are a wonderful place                                                                                   sauce, that’s not so tiny. This is
              either for a drink or to dine. Lit                                                                                also the place to try some new
              up at night it arguably looks it                                                                                  wines hailing from Lebanon,
              best. The diverse menu includes                                                                                   unique in Phnom Penh to Le
              a mix of western and Asian                                                                                        Cedre. The undercover ter-
              tapas-like snacks and tasty,          Le Jardin: Large grassy yard creates an excellent feeling of space          race seating offers a highly
              healthy food, which must be                                                                                       conducive environment for a
              washed down with Elsewhere’s          the delicious seafood and garlic       excellent feeling of space. Geared   Lebanese feast.
              amazing vodka passion (US$3).         butter pizza, or the picante (hot)     towards families, there’s a kid’s
              An added bonus is that it’s free      pizza, and check out the rotating      play hut and sandpit with toys         LUnA D’AUTUnnO
              for a dip in the refreshing yet       dessert stand inside for a sweet       on the spacious grounds. Seat-       6c Street 29, Tel: 023 220 895
              small pool, though in the day-        treat afterwards. Le Duo now           ing is outside yet undercover.       Luna’s outdoor dining area
              time you may be sharing it with       has a swimming pool to the left        There are a few daybeds with         offers a relaxing alternative to
              the under-five brigade.               of its outdoor seating, which          funky batik cushions set under       its aircon, designer interior. It
                                                    can be used by diners for an ad-       the trees that offer a little more   is the perfect spot for a casual
                LE DUO                              ditional US$6 per person. Plans        privacy. Crepes, ice-creams and      dinner with friends. You can
              17 Street 228, Tel: 023 991 906       are afoot for an Italian delicates-    sorbets are the drawcards here.      see the chefs in action in the
              Le Duo is the spot for Sicilian in-   sen to be built in the grounds in      For lunch, both the chicken and      open-air kitchen and there are
              spired food in Phnom Penh, with       a few months time.                     rocket salad (US$4) and the pita     enough trees to make you feel
              an affordable pizza and pasta                                                bread with meatballs and yo-         like you’ve escaped from the
              menu averaging US$6 per per-            LE JARDin                            ghurt sauce (US$4) are delicious.    busy streets outside. The wood-
              son. Dining al fresco is a must on    16 Street 360, Tel: 011 723 399                                             fired pizzas, split into separate
              a clear, not too hot night. There     Salads, sandwiches and savoury           bODDHi TREE UmmA                   red and white pizza menus are
              are plants throughout the seating     cakes with a decidedly French          50 Street 113, Tel: 012 565 509      excellent – and you can even
              area and the low lighting outside     bent are on offer in this large        Though often busy with tour          see the pizza oven in action.
              creates a relaxing ambience. Try      grassy yard café that creates an       groups and visitors heading in       There’s also a great selection

              38 Asialife Phnom Penh | #12 December 2007
                                                                                                     food corner
of antipasti, pastas (averaging        tive roof terrace in town (open
US$7) and meat dishes (from            evenings only), fairy lights and
US$10 to US$22).                       all. Leaning more towards North
                                       African than French, the three
  AnnAm                                mixed mezze starters are excel-
1C Street 282, Tel: 023 726 661        lent value and ideal for sharing.
Annam offers a more upmarket In-       Tagines and couscous are the
dian dining experience than many       most popular main courses al-
of its contemporaries in Phnom         though there is normally a good
Penh. Set in a house in a serene       range of fish dishes available.
garden, the restaurant has under-
cover terrace seating, along with        COmmE A LA mAiSOn
an indoor dining area. From the        13 Street 57, Tel: 023 360 801
terrace, you can see the profession-   Phnom Penh’s longest running
al looking kitchen in action behind    French restaurant also has the
a glass wall. The menu includes an     most elegant garden terrace. The
extensive range of northern and        mood at the restaurant changes
southern specialties, with excellent   as the day progresses. Breakfast
masala dosas (10,000 riel), a crispy   involves excellent freshly bread
pancake enclosing a mildly spiced      baked on the premises; salads,
potato mixture, with chutneys and      flans and snacks are ideal for a
sambal on the side. There’s also a     light lunch; and a three-course
menu featuring Chettinad dishes,       meal makes for dinner. It’s
originating from the southern          always advisable to look at
Indian state of Tamil Nadu. With       the weekly-changing specials
fruit trees, a water feature, a gar-   board, although both fish and
den swing and a neatly manicured       meat carpaccio make for a
lawn, the grounds offer a beautiful    great starter and the steak is an
setting for a delicious Indian meal.   excellent value main. There is

                                                                                                                          food corner
                                       also a delicatessen at the back
  TALkin TO A STRAnGER                 selling both freshly baked bread
21 Street 294, Tel: 012 798 530        and delicious homemade paté.
In the style of an Australian beer
garden, Talkin is a great spot for       GARDEn CEnTER CAFé i
pub grub under the stars. Casual,      23 Street 57, Tel: 023 363 002
unpretentious and relaxing, the        Although sitting on plastic chairs
bar is all outdoors, with some         on a covered terrace next to
barstools around the bar itself        potted plants is not everyone’s
which and lots of chairs and tables    cup of tea, the original Garden
hidden amid the greenery. Along        Center is a little piece of Britain
with the Australian beers and          in Phnom Penh. Very much
excellent cocktails – try something    in the style of British garden
creative from the extensive martini    centres, the café serves some of
menu – Talkin is a good spot for       the freshest, healthiest and safest
a meal. The best night to go is        food in town. Bread is cooked
Thursday when the roast lamb           fresh in its bakery and the home-
special is great value at US$8 or      made muesli and unsweetened
US$10 with a glass of wine, but it’s   yogurt – though not cheap – is a
best to book this in advance.          cut above anything found in the
                                       capital’s supermarkets. Despite
  TAmARinD                             having one of the widest selec-
31 Street 240, Tel: 012 830 139        tions of breakfast options, the
This well-situated French restau-      standout dishes are the salads
rant has possible the most attrac-     and flans.

Elsewhere: Use of the pool comes free with the food

                                                                             #12 December 2007 | Asialife Phnom Penh 39

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