It’s the mark of a good Japanese restaurant if the Japanese show up, they say. If that cliché’s true then the Sushi Bar, which opened on Street 302 last Sunday, must be a humdinger.
Last week the shiny new branch, an extension of the Ho Chi Minh-based chain, was bursting with Japanese expats eager to sample the bewildering wide range of sushi and sashimi dishes on the menu.
The good news is it’s cheap enough to try a fair few types of the fish—which is mostly imported from Japan, via Vietnam.
A 16-set sushi selection goes for US $13 while rolls are between US $1.50 and US$3. Indulge in the tempura—particularly the deep fried fatty salmon and spring onion rolls. Divine: juicy and drenched in sweet soy sauce with a pinch of wasabi.
Ikura, or salmon roe stacked in seaweed is a delight to look at: bright orange and ready to burst. Better still when coating the crunch rolls—a well balanced mix of prawn, cucumber, avocado and radish sprouts.
Sashimi is more hit and miss. The squid carries a bitter aftertaste, while octopus is tough and meaty—unpleasant after a few mouthfuls.
There are teething problems with service, too. The staff struggle with both English and Khmer, meaning service is sometimes a struggle. The green tea arrived halfway through the meal and a request for water went unmet.
The seats near the sushi bar are a great spot to watch chefs in cutesy multi-coloured bandanas gut and grill but are plagued with flies.
It’s no humdinger. But at around $20 for two, it is both decent and affordable, and that makes for an exciting addition to Phnom Penh’s fairly desolate—but improving—Japanese eating scene.
To contact the reporter on this story: Poppy McPherson at [email protected]