On the hunt for new brunch options, editor Marissa Carruthers and photographer Charles Fox head to Enso to satisfy the craving.
“We’ve brought a bit of Melbourne to Phnom Penh,” says Enso co-owner and Australian restaurateur Glenn Thompson of his latest eatery. His comment is an understatement, with the hip surroundings – high ceilings and simple but elegant décor dotted with industrial furnishings – resembling something straight off the streets of the vibrant Aussie city.
The menu is the same, paying testament to a diverse range of options, all bursting with flavour, minus any signs of the airs and graces of pretention. The all-day breakfasts are undoubtedly the specialty, taking in healthy options, such as quinoa porridge with vanilla, lemon, raisins, blueberry compote and pistachio ($5), and sautéed field mushrooms and spinach with goat cheese and basil dressing ($4.50).
For those looking for something sturdier, dinner is also catered for with equally mouth-watering meals on the menu – think pork belly ravioli with seared scallops and soy beurre blanc ($8.50) and red snapper, potato and leek pie, served with a mixed salad ($8.50).
Tempted by the brunch offerings, first up was the chak chouka ($6.50), a lunch and breakfast dish all rolled into one. Here, Tunisian baked eggs sit alongside spicy sausage, tomatoes, peppers and olives, served as an omelet-style feast. Packed with so many flavours, the dish punches you wide awake, with the chilli, cumin and chorizo sausage adding a spicy kick alongside the olives and gentle notes of coriander.
The zucchini and pea fritters with streaky bacon, eggs and salsa verde ($5.50) is another dish worth waking up for. The fritters are given an extra flair by using grated ricotta, lemon and self-rising flour to give a thick and fluffy texture before being fried to add the outer crunch. This is served with lashings of crispy bacon, yoghurt that is hung to rid it of excess moisture, and salsa verde made from mint, coriander, chilli, olive oil and garlic, which adds a mellow calm. The wow factor comes in the form of the eggs, which are boiled at a precise 62C. “This holds the protein in the egg,” says Thompson.
Moving onto the mains and the summery sounding tuna tartar with avocado and tomato jelly ($8.50) was calling. Served in a classic prawn cocktail glass, the dish offers the freshest of ingredients. Take the sashimi grade tuna, which is dipped in liquid nitrogen to keep it fresh. The tomato and avocado jelly with basil offers a refreshing addition, with the cumin adding a welcome zing to each bite.
Sticking to the healthy agenda, a smoothie bar sits outside, offering a range of energy drinks, such as the green boost made from banana, mango, spinach, moringa and fresh coconut water – the perfect hangover cure – and the rejuvenate, which is packed full of beetroot and ginger.
With each dish having gone down a treat, and plenty more options up for grabs, a return trip to Enso is definitely on my menu.