Kann Soann has had a busy few months. The Siem Reap-born entrepreneur opened Sokkhak Boutique Resort last September, and now his French fusion restaurant, Sokkhak River, is finally ready.
“I have no personal life,” said Soann. “But I have to bring so much passion, motivation and creation, I love it.”
The look of his new eatery – formed of a front garden and interior – combines classic temple features with a graphic, modernist style. Abstract paintings by Cambodian artist Sovann Thav hang on the walls and traditional Khmer materials like laterite and bamboo are used.
Soann designed it in collaboration with V Design, a Siem Reap-based firm of Khmer architects. “I like to mix things, it is part of the new generation of design in Cambodia where we are drawing influences from all over the world,” he said.
The inventiveness is reflected in the menu. Traditional French dishes are given a local spin: for example, ginger is added to the white wine, butter and garlic in the Provençal, which can be enjoyed with either prawn or frogs’ legs. “There are plenty of French restaurants in town, but we wanted to do something new,” said Soann.
For mains, diners pick their meat or fish from a selection of salmon, sea bass, lamb, duck and Australian beef, and choose from a variety of sauces, including Kampot pepper, lok lak or red wine. Sides include potato mash, grilled asparagus and pan-fried eggplant with teriyaki sauce.
With Sokkhak River, Soann adds to a growing portfolio of local hits that includes Sokkhak Spa, Sokkhak Boutique Resort, and Chanrey Tree, a Cambodian restaurant that is drawing a lot of praise.
While he says he’d quite like a break, it doesn’t take much to draw him on what he might like to do next. When prompted, he reeled off a list: a hotel in Phnom Penh, or perhaps a spa academy in Siem Reap, or another spa, and so on.
“I really need a rest,” he said. “But there is no time, no chance to rest. This is the problem.”
Sokkhak River is located on Pokambor Avenue.