Music is food for the soul, but a Greek salad or lamb cutlets make the notes sound even better.
The Village, a sleek new eatery on Street 360, just off Norodom Boulevard, has the good sense to combine great food with live tunes.
The idea behind The Village is to provide a space for Phnom Penh’s artistic community, with everything from smooth jazz to spoken word welcome onstage.
Live performances are expected to be the norm, with a fully equipped bandstand located in the centre of the restaurant.
The main floor has a slick, sophisticated vibe. The wall above the bar is adorned with traditional Khmer string instruments that pose an interesting juxtaposition to the otherwise ultra-Western feel in the interior design.
The menu is eclectic, but the menu’s Lebanese selection stands out.
Falafel is served with freshly made hummus and baba ghanoush ($4.50), as are pita pockets stuffed with sirloin, sauteed peppers and caramelised onion ($5).
A personal favourite were the rakakats ($5.50), which are Lebanese spring rolls.
They may look like the ubiquitous Southeast Asian variety, but the inside contains a gluttonous mix of feta and yoghurt.
Lovers of Lebanese cuisine (or those wishing to be initiated) are especially advised to try the mezze platter ($10.80), which features humus, falafel, roasted egg plant puree, rakakats and kibbeh. The highlight of the mezze platter is the mango tabbouleh, which gives a Southeast Asian twist to the famous Lebanese salad. The platter is meant for two, but a hungry individual can finish it off.
In addition to the Lebanese offerings, food from all over the Western world is on offer, from pasta al forno ($7.50) to Australian ribeye steak ($14).
Customers should be aware, however, that the Village plans to rotate their menu options on a monthly basis.
The bar has an extensive drinks list, with a typical cocktail costing between $4 and $6.
A generous happy hour lasts from 4pm to 7:30pm, which provides a buy one get one free deal on cocktails and draft beer.
The Village is about to enter its third week of business, and time will soon tell if its ambitious plans of fostering a performing arts community will work.
In the meantime, they can put together a superb platter of Lebanese food.