Embassy, whose kitchen is helmed by the talented “Kimsan Twins”, Kimsan Pol and Kimsan Sok (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:
- Amuse bouche - Mushroom cappuccino, dry chili powder - a rather gentle start as it was essentially French-style creamy mushroom soup, given a subtle lift with the infusion of chili.
- 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.
- 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.
- Palate cleanser - Banteay Srey orange and red tea sorbet.
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.
Second main course - Steamed Chicken, vermicelli, lotus root, sliced ginger, sweet & sour sauce
Dessert - Pandan leaf bang dok, with sweet melon ice-cream
Overall, an interesting and quite enjoyable meal. Cambodian cuisine has some similarities to Thai cuisine (minus the chili heat), but tends to be less punchy 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.
Street 27, King’s Road Angkor Village
Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Tel: +855 89 282 911
Opening hours: 6pm-11pm daily.