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The Jazz Boat is set inside a traditional Khmer-style villa that has been adapted to create a cosy club feeling
The Jazz Boat is set inside a traditional Khmer-style villa that has been adapted to create a cosy club feeling. Nicky Sullivan

On board with The Jazz Boat

After setting up the Café du Moulin in France, one couple has big plans for Siem Reap

In the artistic town of Vallauris, in the south of France, Jeanne Wallet and Pierre Tylutki spent 12 years running the Café du Moulin. They turned an old mill into a thriving cultural centre, drawing musicians, artists, actors and performers from all over the world.

At its heart was jazz music and the popular performances they held several times a week. It seemed natural, then, when they moved to Siem Reap two months ago with two children, one cat and one dog in tow, that they would open a successor.

The result, an intimate jazz club and tapas restaurant, The Jazz Boat, launched last week and is the last piece in the creative jigsaw that is the Harbour, home to a tattoo parlour, jewellery store, design studio, beach bar (complete with sand), outdoor cinema, and now jazz club, all on one site.

“To me, the word ‘jazz’ doesn’t describe one kind of music. It comes from the ground and you can find its currents in all kinds of music. It is very human, a sharing music,” said Wallet. “This is what I’m about, and what this place is about, sharing beautiful moments with people from all over the world.”

The Jazz Boat is in a traditional Khmer-style villa, but Wallet and Tylutki have adapted the space upstairs to create a cosy club feel with a bar at one end and the stage at the other.

An open front keeps the breeze coming, while Wallet works in the kitchen creating simple tapas dishes from southern France, Spain and North Africa and her husband runs the bar.

Dishes range from $1.50 to $6, and a large selection includes everything from French fries to cheese plates, chorizo, tortilla, salads, escargots, smoked salmon pancakes, fritters and more. A full bar menu includes an extensive choice of cocktails.

The couple hope to eventually host music performances every night but, for the moment, three to four performances a week are sustaining them. Wallet is still in contact with many of the musicians who graced her stage at Café du Moulin, who promise to make a detour to Siem Reap when touring the region. “I think we will be able to create some incredible concerts in 2015,” she said.

“We had so much help from so many good people since we got here,” said Wallet. “This is what makes me happy to be here. Music makes me happy. This is what I want to offer Siem Reap.”

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