[Siem Reap, Cambodia] Modern-Cambodian at Embassy, King's Road Angkor Village


(Peter) #1

Embassy, whose kitchen is helmed by the talented “Kimsan Twins”, Pol Kimsan and Sok Kimsan (actually, the two young women are not even related) offers beautifully-presented dishes which they self-labelled Khmer Gastronomy - a marriage of traditional Cambodian and French cooking styles & techniques. Both women have worked in Saint-Bonnet-le-Froid in the Haute-Loire under Régis Marcon at the 3 Michelin-starred Le Clos des Cimes, and his French influence shows in their cooking & presentation.

The restaurant is staffed by an all-women crew, a modern-day reflection of traditional Cambodian commerce whence women dominate every day business dealings. The Psar Char (Old Market) nearby, for instance, has practically all-women traders, a traditional practice since the old days.

Embassy presents a monthly dégustation menu which takes in the seasonal ingredients and also permits the chefs to vary their offerings at a comfortable interval. Our February menu consisted of:

  1. Amuse bouche - Mushroom cappuccino, dry chili powder.

  1. Appetiser - Pounded “Keo Romeat mango“ with crispy smoked Tonle Sap fish, dried shrimp and caraway herbs. This is presented like a Cambodian nhoam, i.e. salad at the beginning of a meal, and is reminiscent of the traditional nhoam svay trei ccha-ae, smoked fish with green mango salad.

  1. Soup - Pradak palm fruit sour soup cooked in lemon grass turmeric paste, pork rib and tamarind juice. The use of a sour fruit for its dominant flavour is a reflection of Cambodian samla m’chou sour soups.

  1. Palate cleanser - Banteay Srey orange and red tea sorbet.

  1. First main course - Duck egg Omelette stuffing with fried minced spicy beef and red ant eggs, sandan fruit sauce.

The fried red ants & ant larvae where served on the side of the plate, like an optional garnish & perhaps to lend a bit of exoticism to excite the foreign diners. Tasted citrusy.

  1. Second main course - Steamed Chicken, vermicelli, lotus root, sliced ginger, sweet & sour sauce.

  1. Dessert - Pandan leaf bang dok, with sweet melon ice-cream.

Overall, a very enjoyable meal. Cambodian cuisine has some similarities to Thai cuisine (minus the chili heat), but tends to be blander and more subtle in its flavours, making it more suitable when fused with French cooking.

One of the chefs will come out to meet the diners at the end of the evening and ask for our feedback, whilst presenting us with a gift-box of macarons made in-house. A nice touch.

Try and book ahead - good restaurants are few and far in-between, and tend to be booked out, especially during the high season or on weekends.

Address
Embassy Restaurant
Street 27, King’s Road Angkor Village
Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Tel: +855 89 282 911
Opening hours: 6pm-11pm daily.


#2

Thanks for the write up. Looks like you are more satisfied with your later meals in Siem Reap.

The mushroom cappuccino is a hommage to Regis Marcon, he is famous for mushroom dishes.

Personally, I find similarities to Vietnamese and Thai cuisine, both are neighbours. A chef explained to me that Khmer cuisine should not be very spicy, there is an undertone of flavours if the products are fresh and of quality (though I would not agree with the word “blander”).

Looks like the dishes show more French influences when compared to my meal at Cuisine Wat Damnak. A good meal, although, personally I was looking for more local cooking, and I do not particularly crave for French food when I am on vacation in the first few weeks.

This seems to be the norm in Siem Reap, the middle to higher end restaurants, the chefs or the owners like to talk to their clients at the end of the meal. I think it is interesting that they care to know the feedback of clients.


#3

I saw your meal have duck omelette, I wonder if traditionally they consume a lot of duck.
The ones we have eaten in local joints were mediocre in terms of the quality of the animal (small and not much meat) and the cooking methods.

Do you know if it is due to the war? Or is it historically in their culture? I think I once heard something that men preferred driving taxi or Tuk Tuk (but I think it was in Vietnam when I heard this) and women in selling in market…


(Peter) #4

I think it’s more cultural, as in the Malaysian state of Kelantan, where the Malay population descended from Champa settlers who came in the late-17th century, traders in the markets are also all-women.