With a new chef, a new menu and a revamped outdoor space, editor Marissa Carruthers and photographer Lucas Veuve head to Chinese House.
As a stalwart on Phnom Penh’s dining scene, Chinese House has undergone many transformations, each building on the success of its predecessor. And with a new chef at the helm – Chef Ines Samaai – the venue is entering another chapter in its history.
Reflecting the cultural melting pot that is the capital, the menu brings together the refined flavours of France with Asian and Japanese flavours, presenting an innovative French-Asian gourmet menu for the upstairs restaurant.
A more casual collection of dishes is served downstairs and in the sumptuous garden space, which recently underwent a make-over taking in a built-in barbecue area and sunbeds and loungers.
Striving to present affordable but high-end dishes, the menu takes in the likes of grilled seafood salad ($7.75), beef tataki ($9.75), ramen ($5.75), Kampot pepper crusted Waygu beef tenderloin and marble grade ($58.75), and malva pudding ($4.75).
To start, we tried the entrée pan seared scallops ($14.50). Here, lightly fried scallops are served with a mild green coconut curry, fish paper, lemon foam and pea risotto. The result is a refreshing and textured dish, presenting a nice balance of flavours, with the fish paper and risotto adding a crunch.
Another stand out entrée is the miso soup ($4.75), with the traditional Japanese soup packed with coriander, red cabbage, bok choy and red chilli. Delivering a nice punch, the light broth comes with pillows of soft tofu, topped with coriander and chilli. The bok choy and red cabbage not only compliment the salty soup, they also add a splash of colour to the well-presented plate.
For mains, we were served the grilled black kingfish ($16.75). The rich fish is accompanied by Sihanouk squid marinated in a mild fine herb pesto and cooked to perfection, and crisp baby potatoes. The honey mustard dressing and sultanas bring a note of sweetness to the mix.
Next up was the South African springbok tenderloin ($34.50). The African antelope was pan-seared leaving it pink on the inside, succulent, tender and packed full of flavour.
It came with organic roasted baby beetroots, crisp potato croquettes and turnip spring rolls, topped with a flavoursome red wine jus.
For dessert, the decadent white chocolate and coconut mille feuille ($7.75) was calling. The well-presented plate combines the essence of France, Belgium and Cambodia. The buttery white chocolate crème delightfully contrasts with the delicate, flaky filo pastry packed with compressed tropical fruit, accompanied with a refreshing scoop of passion fruit sorbet that cleanses the palette.
With heaps of imagination put into each dish, the popular Sunday brunch hosted in the spruced up garden and plenty of tempting tapas and creative cocktails, kicking back at the Chinese House is a great way to relax.