Having recently refined its menu, Bistrot Langka is serving up a new selection of mouth-watering French fusion dishes. Editor Marissa Carruthers and photographer Enrc Català try it out.

Bassac Lane may well be one of the capital’s most bustling back alleys, with the vibrant narrow street alive with bars, restaurants and boutiques. But it’s in for a run for its money as the lane culture starts to explode across the capital.

The small street on Street 51, nestled in between Street 288 and 294 near Wat Langka, is another hidden gem. Home to the likes of Patio hotel, Mini Banana, BattBang bar and One Up Hotel, other ventures are slated to launch this year, meaning the lane’s reputation looks set to rise.

Having opened a year ago, Bistrot Langka specialises in fine but unpretentious French cuisine with a hint of the Mediterranean and a sprinkling of Asia.

As the brainchild of Cochise Ory, who was behind Street 308’s Bistrot Bassac, and Thomas Giordano, the premise is simple: offer a concise menu full of fabulously fresh dishes in intimate and chic surroundings.

“We have a small menu so that everything is as fresh as possible,” says Ory. “Everything is homemade, and it’s important to us that we use local produce wherever we can.”

Putting quality and service at the forefront, in November, Ory and Giordano flew in French chef Nadee Salvy to spend an intense 12 days shaking up the menu,.

Now diners can choose from a range of starters, such as eggs mimosa ($3.75) and gnocchi with mushroom and raw yolk egg ($4.75), mains including big pork chop for two people ($18.75), tuna tataki and matchstick fries ($9.75) and vegetarian plate ($7.75), and desserts, such as pain perdu and salted caramel ($4.50).

Having recently acquired a high-end sous vide machine, Bistrot Langka’s meat is extra flavoursome. The sous vide style of cooking – vacuum sealing food and cooking it in a water bath at a set temperature and time – is popular in kitchens across Europe for its ability to retain nutrients, juices and taste, meaning each bite is all the more tasty.

The fish tartar ($8), which changes depending on the fish available that day – ours was giant mackerel – sees fresh fish tossed in a light dressing made with homemade kimchi from cucumber, squeezed lemon, shallots and the Cambodian herb mo’om before being decorated with the dainty buds of edible ica chay flowers.

The result is outstanding. Well presented, the taste is soft on the palate, with the delicateness of the fish complimented by the cucumber kimchi. The sauce adds a tangy zest that promises to refresh on the clammiest of days.

The lightness of the dish meant there was room for dessert, so we opted for the millefeuille, praline and crispy sesame ($4.75). The heavenly nutty-chocolaty pudding puts a spin on the French pastry, with sesame scattered heavenly swirls of smooth creamy goodness sitting alongside cones of praline with locally-produced sesame rice paper adding crunch to the texture.

Offering food to well and truly satisfy the tastebuds in a lane that is on the up, there is every reason to make a repeat visit to Bistrot Langka.

132 Z13 Street 51, Phnom Penh.
Tel: 010 740 705.
Open daily from 6.30pm to 10.30pm.