We had an unforgettable trip to Cambodia and in particular Siem Reap. I loved the people, the history, the museums, the temples, and the culture. I also enjoyed the Cambodian food.
Embassy Restaurant is a great way to discover elevated Cambodian gastronomy. I was actually quite impressed and surprised by the high quality and sophistication of the cuisine.
The restaurant is located in King’s Road Angkor Village, a cute touristy, outdoor shopping space. Embassy is an appealing place, designed in whites with orange accents. Tablecloths all tied in the corners with orange ribbons, white lamps on each table, with an orange bag strung across each one. Original art adorns the walls, with a large white chandelier as a focal point. It is all rather sophisticated and contemporary for Siem Reap. They even used proper stemware for their wine. There is a small open kitchen, where you can see the staff busily preparing your $36 tasting menu. Yes that wasn’t a typo.
The kitchen is headed by the “Kimsan twins” (they are not related but share the same last name) executive chefs Kimsan Pol and Kimsan Sok. Both are local legends in the culinary scene who have risen to the top of their industry, typically dominated by males. In fact, we saw nary a male. The entire staff seemed to be all women. The chefs have worked under the guidance of a Michelin star French chef in the past, but their heart still remains with Cambodia and its unique flavours. The chefs truly tried to honour its homeland and the bounty of fresh produce that is available. The menu changes monthly and is inspired by local, seasonal ingredients. Our menu started with Khmer Street finger food, followed by an amuse-bouche of small river shrimps wrapped in sticky rice and tamarind sauce. Next an appetizer of green jack fruit salad, minced beef, sliced lemongrass in a kaffir lime dressing. My favourite course was the soup, a taro stem soup, with sesbania flower, bean sprouts, green curry paste, and grilled local sea bass. Then there was a refresher of orange and dry red chili granite. There was a choice for the main course of either a baby squid with smoked eggplant and a sweet and sour passion fruit sauce that was a standout or slow-cooked pork ribs in a caramel palm sugar, with coconut fried rice, that were a little on the dry side. Dessert was a steamed yellow bean cake, with a pumpkin and turmeric root ice cream. They use a lot of turmeric in Cambodian cooking.
You can choose to pair all this with wine if you like or order a craft cocktail. We were in shock to find this gastronomic and upmarket dining experience in Siem Reap. After a day of touring the Angkor temples, or hiking through the jungle in high temperatures and humidity, it was nice to have the experience of an air-conditioned restaurant (or you can sit on the terrace) and finely prepared foods, in such a pleasant setting.