Toul Tom Pong’s offerings have been steadily growing during the last few years, but 2016 has seen the pace step up a gear. Editor Marissa Carruthers and photographer Lucas Veuve try one of the latest additions.

Serving up a refreshing slice of Spain in tropical Cambodia was the ultimate aim of Marco Julia Eggart and Tania Unsworth when they opened Tipico earlier this year.

“Spanish tapas is very accessible,” says Eggart. “The style of eating in Asia is small plates and sharing, so we also thought it may appeal to a local audience.”

With a strong nod towards Catalonian food – the northeastern region of Spain, where Eggart originally hails from – the menu pays testament to a host of classic Spanish dishes, such as patatas bravas ($4.60), a range of Spanish omelettes, or tortillas, and paella, given a Tipico twist.

“We wanted to cater towards people looking for something a little bit different,” says Unsworth. “So we’ve upgraded Spanish cuisine to include not only classical dishes but a few other items that are a little bit different, from different regions of Spain.”

The focus is on sourcing quality ingredients, preferably locally, with an exception made for authentic Spanish products, such as the range of cured meats – Serrano ham 100g and a baguette ($15.85) and Iberico ham 100g and baguette ($24.15), which are imported from the Mediterranean country. “We have to import some key ingredients but we try and source locally,” says Eggart. “It’s important that we’re not racking up the air miles.”

The tortilla de calabacin ($4.95) is a typical Spanish omelette. Thick and fluffy, it is made using local organic eggs and is dotted with green flecks of zuccini. The omelette falls apart on the fork and the zuccini is a fresh and welcome addition.

As well as the current temperatures soar, the ensalada mediterranea ($5.75) offers a refreshing respite. The classic salad is piled high on the plate and takes in crispy lettuce, cherry tomatoes, black olives, small squares of cheddar cheese, boiled eggs and is topped with flakes of tuna. A dressing of extra virgin olive oil and sherry vinegar is drizzled atop.

The croquetas de jamon ($4.75) is proving popular and presents classic ham croquettes. The crust offers the perfect crunch with the soft inside stuffing of melted cheese and ham creating a wonderful contrast in textures.

No Spanish menu would be complete without the addition of paella ($10.95), and Tipico’s speciality is packed with seafood and pork. Taking 20 minutes to cook, the dish is moist to the bite and is served with mussels, plump prawns and hunks of pork.

Sticking with the larger dishes, a highlight on the menu for me is the lubina ($7.50). Perfect for combatting the heat, the seabass is served on a bed of creamy mashed potato given a refreshingly zesty kick of citrus. The topping of organic tomato sauce – diced tomatoes, chives, onions, garlic and olive oil – completes the dish, which is light enough for lunch.

Set in a modern, minimalist, light space, Tipico is a great place to escape to a Mediterranean-style retreat and feast on some fabulous food or indulge in craft cocktails.

80 Street 454, Phnom Penh.
Tel: 023 986 453.
Open daily from 11am to 11pm.