Search form

Login - Register | FOLLOW US ON

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - A taste of France with a hint of Cambodia

A starter of svay and herring (left) and a main of sach tier and choucroute exemplify the Cambodian inspiration at Naang.
A starter of svay and herring (left) and a main of sach tier and choucroute exemplify the Cambodian inspiration at Naang. Athena Zelandonii

A taste of France with a hint of Cambodia

Malo Gruget, the 25-year-old chef and manager at Naang, which opened its doors last month, describes his cuisine as classic French with Cambodian inspiration.

A look at the menu makes clear what he means. From the appetisers to the desserts, all of the offerings are recognisably Western dishes with a few ingredients swapped out for local flavourings.

It’s a taste he refrains from calling “fusion” but prefers to call “Cambodian-inspired”.

“I smoke the salmon myself with local jasmine tea; or, for example, the foie gras is marinated in Khmer coffee and black currant liqueur,” he says.

Gruget’s Cambodian influence isn’t by happenstance; he first came to Phnom Penh five years ago as a trainee cook at the capital’s well-known Topaz and Malis restaurants for several month-long stints.

After returning to Europe, he sought out opportunities to come back to the Kingdom; he found it by taking a job as a chef for the French Embassy where, until early 2016, he worked for two years.

There, he says, he had the freedom to experiment with local ingredients, serving up an ever-changing array of meals to embassy guests, who – honoured to be at the embassy – would not complain about the food.

“If it wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t a problem… I still had a lot to learn, even for the classic dishes,” he says.

That experimentation on embassy VIPs has resulted in a menu that is sure to please the public at this stylishly decorated locale that combines modern industrial décor with colonial tiles and a shadow-puppet motif – from which the name Naang, an archaic Khmer word for the ancient art form, comes.

To start, the refreshing svay and herring ($4) salad is an excellent introduction to Gruget’s concept, with the green mango offering a welcome counterpoint to the salty smoked fish.

For the main course, the sach tier and choucroute ($9), a dish composed of pan-fried duck breast accompanied by a carrot and pink pepper puree and sauerkraut – except it’s made with bok choy instead of cabbage – is a sensory delight.

To round out the meal with something sweet, Post Weekend recommends Blumenthal’s French toast ($4), prepared in the style of British chef Heston Blumenthal. Gruget serves the caramelised variation of the classic pain perdu with a crisp of bacon and a scoop of soursop ice cream – just to remind you: this isn’t Paris, its Phnom Penh.

Naang is on the ground floor of the Monsoon Hotel, #8 Street 294 (on the corner of Street 9).

0

Comments

Please, login or register to post a comment

Latest Video

ACLEDA President In Channy on the key to the bank’s success

Post Khmer Editor-in-Chief Kay Kimsong sat down with Dr In Channy, President and Group Managing Director of ACLEDA Bank Plc, to explore the main principle guiding Cambodia’s biggest bank.

A taste of Phnom Penh's first container night market

At the launch of Phnom Penh's newest market, The Post spoke to customers and stallholders about what the hub of bars, food stalls, shops and live music will add to the city's nightlife.

Directors discuss the 'rebirth' of Cambodian cinema

"I believe that Cambodian people have creativity in their blood ... There will come a time where a Golden Age of cinema will come back."