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Grand Designs: a Riverside renovation

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A slicker, more modern affair: the renovated La Croisette has just re-opened. Photograph: Stephanie Ip

Gone are the homey red tablecloths, orange walls and wicker chairs of the old La Croisette.

The newly renovated Western style restaurant by the riverside now boasts a sleeker, more upscale look.

With ivory cushions and large French windows, the new La Croisette stands out from all the other more traditional cafes nearby.

The restaurant was rather quiet on a Tuesday afternoon. Most customers chose to sit outside in order to enjoy the hazy view of the Tonle Sap and only a small handful decided to take advantage of the fully air-conditioned interior.

The extensive menu comprised mostly of international fare such as pizzas and pastas, although Khmer specialties like fish amok and beef loc lac were also available. Surprisingly, even though the restaurant markets itself as a French and Khmer restaurant, few of the dishes on offer were authentic French food.

We chose the Fried Kampot Squid ($6) and the Spaghetti Alle Vongole ($7.50). Both dishes came with generous amounts of seafood. The squid was tender and juicy while the clams in the pasta were, to our delight, not gritty at all.

The dish had just the right amount of spice. We finished our meal with coffee ($2) and a tiramisu ($5): the tiramisu was smooth and creamy, but lacked an Amaretto kick.

La Croisette is probably one of the more luxurious ways to enjoy Phnom Penh.

Half the experience lies in the relaxing riverside atmosphere, and modern redesign: the food, though tasty, is less memorable.

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