Being in the capital, it was about time for some REALLY great food and drinks. We found it at two places that could not be more different: the most luxurious hotel in town, Le Royal, and a restaurant run by former street children and their teachers, called Friends.
One thing we have missed was a good cocktail, like the one we usually enjoy at our watering hole in Vienna, the First American Bar. So we walked the 500 meters from our modest hotel to the Raffles Le Royal Hotel, the most exquisite hotel in Phnom Penh, built in colonial style. In the cozy atmosphere of the Elephant Bar, we enjoyed drinks that will be remembered, served with a little snack that was equally delicious. By 07:00 pm the place was packed, so we figured there are a lot of other tourists who monitor the promotions alias happy hour of first-rate bars.
But the most remarkable experience was our visit to the restaurant “Friends”, a project that initially started to help street children back in 1994. Part of the whole project of “Friends”, this restaurant aims at training street children in the hospitality / gastronomy industry. The “venture” has turned into a real success story!
We both love food and eating out but we can only remember a few times eating such creative, delicious food. The tragic part is that we postponed eating there to the very last day of our week long stay in the city, the day we visited the Royal Palace, about 200 meters away. So we ate there twice that day trying to sample as many dishes as possible. This is easy because, except the “daily specials”, all dishes are served as “Tapas”, so you need to order at least two or three to end up with a real meal. Every single one was fantastic, as were their very creative cocktails and “freezers”, non-alcoholic cocktails.
Of course we bought their cook book so that we can try some of our favorites back home!