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Man About Town: 2 Nov 2012

TURBULENCE FOR NEW AIRLINE

Has Siem Reap’s ambitious new ‘airline,’ Air Hanuman, come crashing to ground, or is it simply trying to stay afloat in stormy weather?

Planes were to be chartered from Tonle Sap Airlines, and Air Hanuman took off on October 10, purportedly to provide thrice-weekly flights from Siem Reap to Pattaya.

The airline’s opening was celebrated with flash, with the entire staff contingent turning bedecked in uniforms at the launch of a new lavish lady boy cabaret.

But the flash has now worn off: it office’s formerly festive air has become forlorn, and staff numbers have dwindled.

Hanuman’s director of sales Michel Foidl, who told Insider in September that the company sees “big potential,” has now resigned and the rumor is that the airline could shortly be shut down.

Meanwhile, tomorrow sees the launch flight of Germany’s airline, Condor Air’s new service between Frankfurt and Siem Reap. The route will be serviced by Condor Air’s B767- 300 planes, which can seat 270 passengers.

COOKING THE BOOK

Cambodia’s finest and fairest food writer, the much-hyphenated Clive Graham-Ranger, has combined talents with the Kingdom’s much-lauded food and hospitality guru, Luu Meng, to produce a book called Cambodia’s Top Tables. Clive says the book contains, “Mini profiles/quotes from the cooks and owners of 52 restaurants of a high standard and ambience chosen by a panel of five including  Luu Meng, myself, Marina Pok Renouf, Alexis de Suremain, and Darren Gall.”

Being a bloke who knows his onions, Clive has ensured that the book pays homage to Siem Reap nosh-houses, including L’Oasi, The Touich, Aha, Abacus, Il Forno, Kanell,  Sugar Palm, BBQ Lover, Cuisine Wat Damnak, Nest, and Blue Pumpkin. The book costs $25 and is available from Monument Books and many of the restaurants listed.

Meanwhile on the local restaurant front, surprise of the year is the new Barrio restaurant which has just opened on Wat Bo Rd, opposite Angkor Village resort.

Barrio, in its former location on Sivutha Boulevard, was on of the town’s longest running restaurants serving distinctly French cuisine to mostly the French set.

But this year came the bad news: the lease was up and a devastated owner Patrick was forced to shut up shop in September. But he quickly rallied, found a new partner and a new location, and the new Barrio is up and running.

The menu features all the long-term favourite dishes, including the popular roast chicken dish. But the venue is the big surprise: it borders on the lavish propelling Barrio into five-star ambience.

It’s much larger and more spacious than the old Barrio, and the entrance is via wooden plank walkways over fish ponds.

THEAM THE ARTIST

High-end craftsman Theam displays his artistry as a painter in an exhibition launching at 6.30pm tomorrow at McDermott Gallery Old Market.

The press release says, “Inspired by the religious murals of Cambodia’s majestic pagodas, along with the technique of polychrome and lacquer-ware initiated by Master Eric Stocker, in his series People and Monks Theam expresses his perception of a reality where peculiarity and beauty combine seamlessly.

We are invited to witness a series of intimate visual essays on the blurred ambiguity between ‘common’ people and those considered ‘sacred’.”

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