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Opening night at D'Vine.
Opening night at D'Vine. PHOTO SUPPLIED

New café has a touch of class

A new addition to Siem Reap’s wining and dining scene, D’Vine Café and Wine Bar on Stung Thmey in the former Shisha Bar premises, specialises in wine, craft beers and café fare while billing itself as a place to escape the crowds of Pub Street and “not feel like a tourist.”

The business is co-owned by Siem Reap local Sophoan Pin, along with expats John Sherman, Matthew Park and Ahmed Raeese.

Pin, a long-time teacher of Khmer to expats, says the idea came about partly because she was looking for somewhere to hold her private lessons. D’Vine is open from 9am, so students tend to come during the day then stick around for a bite to eat – the café boasts a small but tasty-looking food menu.

The D'Vine Café and Wine Bar.
The D'Vine Café and Wine Bar. PHOTO SUPPLIED

“This place is in cooperation with the Khmer teaching classes during the day and in the morning, when we serve coffee and lunch,” says Pin. “We have air-con and it’s very cosy so people can just come, enjoy themselves and relax.”

“When you’re living here, you exhaust the places on Pub Street pretty quickly,” adds Sherman. “We just wanted to try something a little bit different, maybe a place where expats who are looking for a more relaxed setting can come. We don’t play the loud club music, we usually play jazz during the day.”

D’Vine’s menu includes American-style waffles with blueberries, banana, Nutella or eggs plus a selection of paninis including chipotle chicken, tuna melt, and caprese with tomato, mozzarella and basil.

Sherman, who helped a friend run a guesthouse in Siem Reap in 2012, says the experience taught him a lot about the hospitality industry.

“It’s very hard to stock a lot of food and have an extensive menu – especially in a smaller place,” he says. “Without a lot of foot traffic coming in it’s very difficult, things go bad all the time, so our idea was to do something simple.

“We really want to push waffles, and we bought an industrial waffle machine from Korea, I think waffles are nice because you can put any toppings on them, you can have them for brunch. I haven’t seen many places that serve them.”

The D'Vine team (left to right): John Sherman, Sophoan Pin, Matthew Park and dog Nino, Ahmed Raees.
The D'Vine team (left to right): John Sherman, Sophoan Pin, Matthew Park and dog Nino, Ahmed Raees. Miranda Glasser

On the wine side, various whites, reds, roses and champagne are available, as well as cognac and calvados brandy. Prices start at a reasonable $2 for house wine, or red and white sangria. Californian Sherman says he’d like to start holding weekly wine-tastings.

“I don’t know of any places that really do that, apart from Celliers d’Asie who’ll put on industry tastings,” says Sherman. “We want to call it Wine’Down Wednesdays. We’re still playing with the idea but we want it to be not just serving wine but also doing some education – why you use a particular glass for example. I’m no connoisseur but I’d like to learn a little bit and I think it’s fun to have an interactive event. We’re using Celliers d’Asie as our primary supplier so I’d like to do events with them.”

D’Vine Café & Wine Bar is open from 9am to midnight Tuesday to Sunday.

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