A little corner of Paris has opened in Siem Reap, at Chez M. Paul, Angkor W’s latest offering at Kings Road Angkor. The chef is an advocate of the increasingly popular Parisian ‘bistronomy’ movement, and serves gastronomic fare in a cosy bistro-style setting.
“Bistronomy is a concept where you mix together food from the bistro quarter of Paris, but the food is prepared beautifully,” says head chef Yann Poillot, who has worked in restaurants internationally for 30 years. “For me it’s like painting or artistry, and when you mix simple food with beautiful painting, you have bistronomy.”
Hearty cuisine features heavily on the menu, with popular dishes including the seafood platter, duck confit, and of course boeuf bourguignon – the classic red wine beef stew from Burgundy, from where Poillot hails.
Gastronomes can also tuck into steak tartare, snails with garlic butter, and homemade foie gras, which takes a week to make.
“I try to find the freshest products to make the best food,” says Poillot. “Beautiful presentation but simple recipes. You could say it’s home-cooking style.”
All the seafood is from Sihanoukville, except for the salmon which comes from Norway. Poillot uses some local meat, and imports the rest from France and Australia.
Sweet-toothed diners are taken care of too, with the dessert menu featuring fruit crumble, îles flottantes (floating islands – meringues floating on a crème anglaise sauce) and a truly decadent black and white chocolate mousse.
Décor-wise, the look is warm, cosy and very bistro-like. Thai interior designer Tan Brun has chosen comfortable leather banquettes, while the walls are covered with retro prints promoting ‘La Vie Parisienne,’ and vintage advertising memorabilia. A book-case invites customers to peruse both its English and French contents.
“We just want to make the guests feel that they are in France,” says Poillot. “One customer said that then when he eats the eggs Meurettes (poached eggs in red wine sauce), if he shuts his eyes – with the music and the food – he thinks he’s in Paris.”