Fine dining in Siem Reap – Embassy
Having never tried Cambodian or Khmer cuisine before, we approached fine dining in Siem Reap with a completely open mind. Shortly after arriving at Embassy restaurant, our minds were completely blown.
A beautifully presented restaurant, with a colonial/plantation look, Embassy is an absolute treat – and a bargain. Our eight-course tasting menu was US$35. We’d already had happy hour at the hotel, but the wine pairing is also an amazing deal.
Contenting ourselves with a champagne cocktail (with a lychee at the bottom of the glass) and a Tiger beer, we settled in for a feast.
Embassy is run by executive chefs Pol and Sok, also known locally as the ‘Kimsan Twins’. Trained in French techniques and using amazing local produce, they call their food ‘Khmer gastronomy’.
Many of the dishes would seem familiar to fans of Thai food, but the flavours are both more subtle and complex. We’ve found that many Thai dishes are dominated by coriander; that herb is also used extensively here but the flavours are much more balanced and refined. In short, delish.
First up was a welcome plate of Khmer Street finger food.
At the bottom (in the little glass bowl) are green banana chips. Displayed on the banana leaf are quails eggs, fried corn seeds and curried fish cakes. In the petal, crispy pork spring roll.
OMG. Yummo. The spring rolls were particularly good – not a hint of grease and very flavourful.
Next up, the amuse bouche.
This beautifully cooked shrimp had a nutty flavour and was served on a papaya pickle. Greedy Girl wishes she’d nibbled more delicately at the shrimp to keep dipping it in the pickle but, alas, it was gone in a flash. The pickle was certainly tasty enough to eat on its own.
The appetiser was a beef salad. We half expected this to look like the Thai version but it was again much more refined.
Little curls of beef were presented with crispy mixed seasonal vegetables, with a kaffir lime dressing. So light in the mouth.
It was time for soup.
In the middle of the plate was a small disc of free-range chicken, surrounded by bamboo shoots, sweet corn and leaves. The coconut milk broth was poured at the table. Light, refreshing, tasty.
It was time for a palate cleanser.
This soursop is a fruit sourced from an east Angkor village. There’s a slight bitterness but it does the trick perfectly.
And so we were into the heavier dishes. First is the dish at the top of this post, a grilled sea bass coated with cashew nuts and holy basil leaf, with a palm heart puree and passionfruit and garlic pickle sauce.
OMG. The fish flaked apart as softly as a cloud and the flavours all worked together brilliantly. Totally delicious.
Our next and final savoury course was duck.
This is slow cooked ‘Bakong’ duck in sugar cane juice, with special spices from the Royal palace. It’s served with fried pumpkin, honey and tamarind sauce (and a little turret of rice).
It was far and away the richest course of the evening but the flavours were beautiful. The duck was very intense.
We had something sweet to finish.
A very pretty plate, the golden sesame sticky rice cake was quite dense and chewy. The ice cream on top of a pile of little nuts was made from roasted coconut and sugar palm caramel. It wasn’t overly sweet and a good way to end the meal.
And we were done. Presented with a little box of fruity macrons to take with us, we very happily paid the bill and were on our way.
Siem Reap is noted for its food and, experiencing this you can understand why. There wasn’t a dud moment in the menu and the care and attention lavished on the plates is matched by very authentic and warm wait staff.
While we had no dietary issues, the person at the next table was vegetarian and the team was very happy to amend the dishes for them. A very solid recommendation for fine dining in Siem Reap.
King’s Road, Angkor Village, Siem Reap