An unforeseen job opportunity could have scuttled BeiBei Xie’s plans to open a bar and cafe in Siem Reap’s Taphul Road – but luckily the new man in her life had just the skills to save the day.
It was all in the stars for Zodiac Café and Bar, just opened towards the northern end of Siem Reap’s ever-busier Taphul Road.
Owner Beibei Xie got a full-time job just as she was opening the place on the fringes of the backpacker hotspot. Luckily, she had just started dating Keifer Bishop, a fellow well-practiced in the arts of party throwing and cocktail shaking.
“Now I’m running it, but she still calls the shots,” said Bishop.
In the downstairs of a converted Chinese shophouse, the space is small and intimate and done up in a minimalist, almost Norwegian, style, with grey walls, exposed brickwork and blond wood furnishings.
The bar menu is straight-forward and very reasonably priced, with draft beers at 75 cents, cocktails from $1.75, and shots from $2.50. Having spent five months working with Phnom Penh’s prestigious Chinese House last year, Bishop has picked up a few tricks from their master mixologist, Pierre Van Der Naam.
Bishop has a plan for luring people in for the evenings, and it starts with hooking them early in the day with the breakfast he’s offering.
“I’ve long thought you can’t get a really decent English breakfast in Siem Reap, so we’ve created the best one that can be found,” said Bishop describing a big day-breaker with proper Cumberland sausages, eggs, back bacon, button mushrooms and tomatoes, with toast ($5).
There are plenty of other options too, and lunch offers up a home-made beef burger ($4.75), ham and cheese sub ($4.50), amok ($3.75), or lok lak ($3.75). Soon, they’ll also be serving up cakes and pastries from the Bayon Pastry School nearby.
After grazing all day, in the evenings, Bishop is planning to introduce a “hot pot”, offering one dish of, for example, chilli con carne or bolognese, so people can tuck into something tasty instead of heading back into town for food. That way they never have to leave.
Zodiac Cafe and Bar is located on Taphul Road. They’re open 8am to midnight every day except Sunday.