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Opening new Doors in Wat Phnom

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Doors, the new tapas hot-spot in Phnom Penh. Photograph: Alexander Crook/7Days

Doors, the city’s new tapas hot-spot, may be way out in the sticks (Wat Phnom) but it’s hardly secret.

An enormous painted wooden set of doors announces its presence from the pavement, leading into an attractive open space that channels Barcelona basement chic. Colourful corrugated iron ; giant drawings on the walls and a space for a live music.

The artsy touch extends to the menu. The place has an odd penchant for apple: the dubious sounding ‘pregant tomato’ (watery and stuffed with mackerel) comes with the sort of sweet apple sauce that usually accompanies a roast.

The combination is interesting but not enjoyable. The same treatment is given to the chicken with more success. Apple risotto is also on offer.

But patatas bravas, potatoes topped with tomato sauce and garlic mayo – a safe bet and normally an unruly sprawl of carbs – are neat, crisp and delightfully greasy.

King prawns are drenched in olive oil and white wine and served with a generous helping of fresh baguettes. Fried eggs and squid are another favourite.

We finish with cocktails and a creamy but forgettable soufflé. The mixed drinks menu is ambitious. In a fit of experimentalism we opt for ‘toast and jam’.

True to its word, the thing comes in a jar with a piece of bread and jam clipped to the edge with a clothes peg. Inside gin, jam, crème de cassis and blueberry combine:  sweetened washing-up liquid.

Secret Garden, the bartender’s favorite, is palatable but still a little sweet for most.

The juke-box, however, does have a bit of something for everyone: latino rap, classic rock, r’n’b and Snoop Dogg. A place that tries hard to be cool and succeeds.

Doors Music + Tapas, #18 Street 47

 To contact the reporter on this story: Poppy McPherson at ppp.lifestyle@gmail.com

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