Expat punters are heading back to Pub Street thanks to Roll Up, a new dining venture by brothers and business partners Yem Sotho and Yem Sothorn.
The pair, who already own garden hideaway, Palate, near the Angkor Night Market, have decided to add a Pub Street enterprise to their restaurant repertoire.
“Palate, we set up in a tropical garden. It’s a nice setting, relaxing, but it’s very small and it’s not very busy, ” explains Sothorn. “So we just thought, let’s take a risk and try to do something.”
And do something they did. While the eatery is still in its infancy it’s already garnering a lot of local support, with anti-Pub Street expats saying they plan to make a rare venture into the belly of the beast, back to Pub Street, to check out the new joint.
But the pair are quick to note, while they were eager to open, they’re not quite up to scratch just yet, with more decoration to be done, and the full menu yet to be created.
“The real menu will come soon, and it will have lots of surprise fusion dishes,” says Sotho.
He said they came to Pub Street and looked around, noting that almost everywhere the food is the same.
He says, “And we have the same, Khmer and fusion. But also we’ve added something different. I have many signature dishes.”
While Sothorn heads operations front of house, brother Sotho creates master-pieces in the kitchen.
He’s had a lot of time to hone his craft having worked in kitchens for ten years.
Before going solo, Yem worked at L’Meridien, Sokha, and Nest among others, while also earning his stripes as a food program manager with an NGO.
His excitement about creating the new menu is palpable and he’s eager for people to realise Roll Up isn’t just the usual Pub Street fare.
“I’ve got chicken and fish amok, it’s flavoured with curry and amok flavourings, but it’s a ball, easy, small bites,” he says. “We have a special set also, just one order and you have everything, main course, salad, soup, dessert, tea, fruit, all coming together. We call it the Special Cambodian Set.”
When I say this sounds similar to an Indian thali or Japanese bento box, Sotho stresses that Roll Up’s concept will be something unique.
As for the name – it’s not because all the nosh is in rolled form. It comes from the idea of rolling up Buddhist scrolls.
“I was doing research and we were going to name it after the scrolls,” says Sothorn. “But then we decided we didn’t want anything too Buddhist, like temples or anything overt, so we thought, Roll Up, and it stuck.”
With stylish branding, great food, fantastic service, and word has it, the best mojitos in town, expats will be forgoing Pub Street prejudices and rolling up very soon.