Writer Jessica Tana and photographer Lucas Veuve are transported to the French region of Brittany during their visit to La Creperie.
A dramatic coastline dotted with lighthouses, thick wild forests and magical folklore – Brittany is a proud and rustic region on the west coast of France. It is also the setting for a charming blue and white restaurant in Phnom Penh.
Set in a garden off Street 308, La Creperie serves Brittany’s prized cuisine, sweet crepes made from wheat flour and galettes, a savoury, gluten-free version, made from buckwheat.
“Most people only know crepes, as a sweet dish,” says head chef Steve Vaugon. “But the galette is made with buckwheat and is gluten free, something I think is important to people now.”
Brittany’s signature dish, La Complete ($5) is a dark brown galette made with ham, Emmental cheese, a dressed side salad and a runny egg in the middle. The strange sounding concoction works perfectly; the dressing on the green salad gives a tang to the creamy ham and melted cheese, and the egg runs into the galette and ties the whole dish together.
“La Complete is something people in Brittany do when they have to make a meal with few ingredients,” Vaugon says. “They can throw everything together in the galette.”
Next, we tried a vegetarian galette, La Broceliande ($8.50) named after the mythical forest of King Arthur. Containing goat cheese, walnuts, stewed apple and honey, the galette is served with a green salad on top. Aromatic, sweet and delicate, La Broceliande has a very different taste to the rich and creamy La Complete.
A traditional accompaniment to crepes and galettes, we drank Val De Rance cider ($4) imported from France and served in little bowls – dry with the savory dishes, and sweet with dessert.
Next was Buckwheat Rolls of the Week ($3) filled with Thai Massaman curry sweet potato. Spicy and a little sweet, the dish is an inventive way to utilise the galette in another fashion.
Another invention of Vaugon, is the Chicken Bites Salad ($6) a green salad with crunchy, curry coated chicken pieces, grilled onion, tomato and herbs drizzled with honey mustard dressing.
For dessert, we started with the traditional La Krampouz ($4.50), containing stewed apple, cinnamon and caramel sauce, made with salted butter and cream imported from France. The crepe was rich and yet light-tasting, the caramel being only mildly sweet.
The highlight of dessert, however, was La Bar a Bar ($5), a crepe containing cooked bananas, coconut drops, raisons, a scoop of BonBon’s natural French vanilla ice cream, drizzled with dark chocolate sauce and set on fire with Cointreau. The flambee infused the dish with a hint of orange, while the dark chocolate, banana and raisons were a delightful combination.
While there are many French restaurants in Cambodia, La Creperie gives something a little different. And for authentic cuisine from France’s western region, it is not to be missed.