New Street 240 cocktail bar Cafe.sito is nigh on identical to its dimly lit sibling Bar.sito located in the a nearby alley – the key difference being the smell of baking pizzas in the air.
New Zealand brothers George and William Norbert-Munns opened the new spot late last month to “extend the Sito brand to include food”.
“Bar.sito can have some pretty crazy evenings, so we wanted to create another space with the same aesthetic, but with a more casual offering which would appeal to a broader demographic,” said George Norbert-Munns.
It’s a cosy little place, very much Bar.sito’s twin in looks.
Regulars at the sophisticated watering hole will recognise its blue colour scheme, natural timber trimmings and leather furnishings.
Even the fittings – the stools, tables and bulbous cane lampshades – are the same.
The cocktail list will be extremely familiar as well. All the favourites are there including Bar.sito’s signature Bloody Sito ($5).
A bonus of the new venue is its location – situated directly on Street 240, it acts as a handy marker for the tiny and previously indistinct alley that leads to Bar.sito.
A small outdoor seating area means there’s somewhere for smokers to go, eliminating the ever-present haze of fumes most associate with that older bar (although smoking was recently prohibited inside Bar.sito).
And of course there’s now pizzas for peckish patrons.
“We were really lucky to have Gisela Salazar Golding create the Cafe.sito menu,” said George Nobert-Munns, referring to the former executive chef of Chinese House.
“The brief we gave her was three-fold: firstly, the crust we wanted to be crispy, salty and unique. Secondly, we asked for original delicious base pastes.
Thirdly, the toppings had to be high quality, yummy and most importantly, unique to Phnom Penh.”
Variations range from a spicy pepperoni to a vegetarian with zucchini, baby tomato and red onion covering a thick layer of pesto. Pizzas start at $5 for a margarita, with more gourmet options costing $8 or $9.
Bar.sito was one of the Nobert-Munns brothers’ first attempts at a Phnom Penh cocktail bar.
These days, they are best known as the masterminds behind the Bassac Lane hive of micro-bars – over the past year or so they have renovated nearly every shopfront in the small alley.
George Norbert-Munns said they were currently in the process of doubling the size of burger, wraps and beer joint Meat and Drink by adding a “conservatory” and renovating the final two venues in Bassac Lane, which will bring more food options.
“We’re applying a casual drinking/dining experience to both,” he said.
“They’ll open in the next few months.”