Writer Adolfo Perez-Gascon and photographer Enric Català sample the Mexican flavours served at Dos Besos.

“Ay Caramba!” It’s the first thought that pops into my mind as I bite into Dos Besos’s irresistibly crunchy, juicy chimichanga. “Dios mio!”, I tell myself. “This stuff is good.”

And we have Jay to thank for it, a Brooklyn-born restaurateur who opened Dos Besos in May. With a meatless version for almost every item in the menu, vegetarians and vegans are already flocking to the leatery.

Decorated with aloe vera and cacti pots for a touch of green, the chilled and breezy Spanish terraza is just the sort of place to unwind, margarita in hand, after a hard day’s work.

The nachos ($4.95) come first. Our mouths begin to water as we feast our eyes on the dish. Fresh veggies, black beans and refried beans sit on a bed of handmade tortilla chips covered in sour cream, the whole thing topped by a decadent layer of melted cheese.

The little basket of condiments is all that we need now to make the magic happen. They are Jay’s favourite hot sauces, personally imported from the States, and include Tapatio and El Yucateco Chile Habanero.

But eating nachos is a thirsty affair, and as soon as I spot the interior margarita machine, I am tempted beyond reason to get myself a frozen margarita ($3). The machine is always churning two flavours: original and one other that changes daily. Today, strawberry is on. The concoction is delicious and served at just the right chilled temperature. It is also really strong; perhaps, a tad too strong.

Sizzling fajitas con carne asada ($7.50) are next: stir-fried veggies topped with beef strips served on a piping-hot plate. A selection of dippings and side dishes are served alongside – homemade pico de gallo and salsa picante, refried beans and a serving of mexican rice. We fish out corn tortillas from a clay pot and begin stuffing them with the plethora of ingredients at our disposal. The beef – shipped in from Australia – is top quality, and as tender as you are likely to find anywhere in the Kingdom.

We are already stuffed. The portions at Dos Besos are massive, and unless you bring in a truly epic appetite, chances are you will be taking some of your meal home. Oblivious to this when we ordered, there is one more dish to savour: the chimichanga ($6.50) that made me go “Ay caramba!”

And for good reason. Wrapped in a crispy deep-fried tortilla, the innards consist of succulent shredded pork supplied by a Kiwi butcher based in Takeo province. This burrito-like dish comes covered in three delicious sauces – cilantro cream, chipotle sauce and sour cream.

To cap the evening off, we try the trademark New York-style cheesecake ($4), a dessert that earned him great praise at Brooklyn, a nearby pizzeria he co-owns. The sumptuous dessert comes covered in chilli raspberry sauce. With just the slightest tinge of piquancy and a very creamy consistency, the dessert is nothing short of luscious. Like the restaurant itself, It deserves not dos, but tres besos.

33 Street 123, Phnom Penh.
Tel. 077 977 016.
Open Tuesday to Friday, from 11am to 10pm.