One of Toul Tom Poung’s latest offerings serves up a great evening spot to hangout and enjoy some bites and drinks with friends. Words by Marissa Carruthers; photography by Lim Sokchanlina.

Some of the capital’s true treasures are tucked away on its growing network of alleys and back streets. There’s Street 240 ½, Bassac Lane and the alley off Street 51, near Wat Lanka, that is gathering momentum.

Now Toul Tom Poung is gearing up to get its own version as the lane off Street 155, between streets 470 and 474, not far from Russian Market, welcomes an increasing number of boutique businesses. And one of the latest to open is O’ Tapas, serving up a chilled evening hang out.

It’s not a good idea to turn up hungry – for now – as the menu is simple, specialising more in small bites to accompany drinks.

However, co-owner David Do says it is constantly evolving, with new items being added. Asian tapas is the latest and takes in snacks such as pork and chicken barbecue skewers ($1 each) and teriyaki cheesy beef ($1.25).

The Asian options were yet to be introduced during our visit, so we chose from the main menu. Here, dishes include patatas bravas ($1.25), croque monsieur ($3.50), a charcuterie platter ($7) and camembert rotie ($8).

We opted to go with O’ Tapas’ vibe – relaxed and informal – and ordered a selection of bruschetta, that took in creamy salmon ($2), pan con tomate, aubergine and tapenade (all $1.25).

Each dish presented three toasted slices of fresh baguette with healthy portions of various toppings.

The pan con tomate was refreshing, with the diced tomatoes, garlic and chilli giving it a nice kick.

The aubergine was another light bite, with a slice of the soft vegetable, tomato and a generous layer of cream cheese served atop the bread.

The creamy salmon option saw the bread slathered with cream cheese dotted with salmon, while the tapenade offered a smooth paste of black olives, capers and anchovies – salty, but as it’s supposed to be.

The tortilla ($1.50), was a thick wedge of pre-cooked Spanish omelette, packed with cooked ham and small chunks of potato. Light, the dish is another one to share, with three slices served.

O’ Tapas also organises regular food-related events, which have proved popular. These take in a roasted camembert night, a burger night co-hosted with The Supreme on Street 308, and a couscous party.

And the owners have rallied the quaint community together to push the lane’s potential. “We want to really create a community here,” says Do, who is also co-owner of The Supreme – with the Toul Tom Poung arm opening up opposite O’ Tapas this month.

Plans are already in motion to move motos parked on the lane to create a small stage that will host live music and entertainment, with businesses working together to spruce up the neighborhood. “There is a lot of promise here,” says Do. “And we can all create something very special for Toul Tom Poung.”

02A Street 155, lot 6B, Phnom Penh.
Tel. 012 979 517.
Open daily, from 5pm to midnight.