Siem Reap’s city centre and scenic riverside are lined with high-end restaurants, but new eatery Por Cuisine is somewhat unexpectedly off the beaten track, tucked away in Wat Bo Village’s Salakamroeuk Commune
But this is an area sales manager Sokphirun Baty believes is gradually on the up.
Por Cuisine, just off Lok Taney Road, caters mainly to tourists and expats, but is also attracting some well-to-do locals, according to Baty.
Owned by Mr Chan Sereirith, who has a tourism industry background, the contemporary concrete and bamboo building is something of a surprise when turning off Lok Taney onto the dusty side-street.
The spacious restaurant is open on two sides to let a natural breeze flow through, but also boasts wall-to-wall glass screen-doors which can be closed when raining. Additionally, there is an enclosed air-conditioned room.
Funky spiky orange and black lights hang above the entrance, and the minimalist, grey and white decor lends a ‘boutique’ feel.
“The concept here is a modern restaurant,” says Baty. “We are open to everyone, but we work mainly with travel agencies and some hotels. We have a traditional Apsara performance every night, but very few Siem Reap restaurants do a set menu like we do.
Por Cuisine has a choice of three different set menus – Khmer, Asian and western – as well as à la carte, which Baty feels guests prefer so they are not distracted from watching the show.
The restaurant’s most popular dishes include chicken amok, roast beef salad and Khmer-spiced marinated beef with Chinese kale. The chef, Sy Youngchheang, has10 years’ experience in hotels and restaurants including Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort, FCC Angkor and Marum restaurant.
“The Khmer menu is the most popular,” says Baty. “For appetisers we have things like green mango salad with smoked fish, and lemongrass prawn salad. The way we serve the food – the presentation – is as important as the quality.”
Baty feels the slightly out-of-town location will become a boon, with more and more businesses opening outside of the town centre to accommodate the growing tourist industry.
“In the last two years it’s started to get very popular round Wat Bo Street,” he says. “And because of all the tourists, we expect that in another two or three years – if tourist numbers are still increasing – they’re going to spread out to this part. Already we can see a lot of boutique hotels opening up around here.”