Writer Joanna Mayhew and photographer Rudi Towiro check out Will’s Brunch Cafe’s second take on eggs, toast and everything in between.
Few words inspire as much happiness as “brunch”: normally associated with such pleasures as sleeping in, coffee, lazy days and dishes scrumptious enough to outdo two meals.
Luckily Phnom Penh continues to expand its offerings of everyone’s favourite in-between meal, with the recent opening of Will’s Brunch Café’s second location, just two streets south of the original.We decided to forego the traditional Sunday slot, arriving late morning mid-week, and focused on dishes available exclusively at the new eatery. But first things first, the cappuccinos ($2.50) were aromatic and smooth and served in chic white mugs.
We then dug into Will’s Breakfast in a Bowl ($6), essentially a deconstructed breakfast burrito with nicely scrambled eggs, a healthy portion of crisp bacon, red onions and avocado presented atop a tortilla. Tasty but not amazing, the fresh avocado and accompanying tangy and coriander-enforced salsa helped to pull it all together.
The deconstructed format continued for the Jerusalem ($8.50), with smoked salmon and cream cheese presented alongside a bagel, capers and greens. The salmon was rich and flavourful and though not a standout dish, the offering was fresh and welcomingly simple.
The European ($7) came pre-assembled, with a prosciutto-wrapped poached egg atop of mushrooms and rustic bread with hollandaise. The dish lacked texture, but the prosciutto and accompanying charred courgette nicely offset the egg.
The sweet side of the menu was, well, sweeter. Stuffed French Toast ($6) proved the most impressive dish of the day. Thick golden brown toast had been cleverly slit open and filled with berries and cream cheese. The result was crispy on the outside and batter-like inside, with melted blueberries and cream deliciously complementing the buttery and cinnamon-sprinkled bread. The plate was topped off with a dollop of whipped cream and “Will’s” spelled out in berry syrup. The smooth homemade Vanilla Yoghurt ($3.50) carefully achieved a sweet and sour balance. Topped with fresh fruit, it was a perfect way to round out the meal.
With a medley of design aesthetics, the space manages to be clean, artsy and modern all at once. Walls are adorned with oversized paintings of lions, smiley faces and Buddhas as well as colourful wallpaper made up of city names.
Giant Scrabble-style blocks spell “Will’s” atop a cubbyhole decoration featuring cut-out wooden hearts. Alcoves with paint-splattered arches feature distressed white wooden tables, red and silver plastic chairs, and a large chandelier composed of black bent-neck desk lamps.
Those looking to branch out from eggs will have no shortage of options, as the extensive menu features salads, sandwiches, pastas, burgers and desserts. But then again, with two pages of all-day brunch items to sample, why would you?
7 Street 306, Phnom Penh.
Tel: 078 555 000.
Open daily from 7am to 9.30pm