Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Foxy new bistro serves up style and taste



Foxy new bistro serves up style and taste

Foodies and oenophiles can indulge at Fox Wine Bistro. Left, the rich, five-spiced duck - seared to perfection. SCOTT HOWES
Foodies and oenophiles can indulge at Fox Wine Bistro. Left, the rich, five-spiced duck - seared to perfection. SCOTT HOWES

Foxy new bistro serves up style and taste

Without having even set foot inside I was ready to dislike Fox Wine Bistro. As the offspring of the people behind Brown Coffee, with a glossy façade and a litany of largely recognisable Western dishes, I thought I had Fox’s number. It was simply another moneymaking venture for the Cambodian coffee company, with clean lines and sterile décor, devoid of soul and character, serving average but safe fare, I supposed.

It didn’t take long for me to be proven wrong. Within minutes, my dining companion cooed over the comfortable smooth leather seats, while I sang the praises of the swift service.

With its lavish interior, polished service and indulgent menu, Fox is not the typical definition of a bistro, which is traditionally a petite and modest affair serving homemade, hearty dishes.

Some might class a bistro as the more unfortunate-looking and lesser brother to the informal, yet infinitely more swanky, brasserie; a term that is probably more suited to Fox.

The space is vast, and on the Sunday night we visited a smattering of tables were filled with Cambodian families enjoying pasta, steak and salads, while a group of young women chatted over colourful cocktails.

In the background lounge music played unobtrusively, and nestled in the middle of the restaurant, yet visible from indoors, is a small, leafy and bright courtyard for al fresco dining.

The bistro is surprisingly tranquil, despite its Sothearos Boulevard location close to the interminable, raucous election rallies at Wat Botum Park. The curvaceous exterior, with windows stretching from tip to toe, suggests a contemporary European design influence. Inside, ambient lighting illuminates the industrial grey walls and exposed ventilation ducts, which counteract the otherwise suave design.

A Hollywood-esque sign sits proudly above the bar, with the word ‘Fox’ in lights. Wine barrels tower nearby, and shelves of bottles line the walls; with more than 80 bottles on show it’s a veritable library for wine connoisseurs and the house white proved dangerously quaffable.

Despite the lavish surrounds, (and much to our delight), the portions at Fox were surprisingly plentiful, and not at all like the tiny tasting plates en vogue in much of Europe.

The monolithic menu, however, does take culinary inspiration from the continent.

After ordering, a beaming waitress presented us with a free cup of taro chips. The delicate, perfectly seasoned morsels were simple yet moreish - the perfect aperitif.

Our tuna sashimi salad appeared quickly. Slivers of fresh, cool tuna, perched on layers of crunchy wantons, crisp romaine lettuce and sweet grated carrot, all topped with a sesame dressing and chili lime vinaigrette.

The five-spiced duck was seared beautifully on the outside and left blushing in the middle, accompanied by a sweet, rich port reduction.

What I thought were blanched, peeled cherry tomatoes turned out to be small scoops of watermelon. Despite an earlier admission of loathing for fruit served with savoury dishes, my dinner guest happily helped himself to more of both.

Fried calamari and tiger prawns came freckled with chipotle mayonnaise. The batter was light and the squid tender, though the accompanying tomato salsa tasted like jarred pasta sauce.

Lacking seasoning and crunch the French fries were underwhelming, but by no means unpalatable.

While the name bistro might be misleading, there’s no mistaking the quality of food at Fox Wine Bistro. Much to my consternation, the sly Fox wooed me.

Fox Wine Bistro at at 104 Sothearos Boulevard. Dinner is served seven days a week from 5pm. They have plans to open for lunch in the future. ​​​​​​

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Tottenham Hotspur to wear ISF Cambodia logo on jerseys in match against Sheffield United

    Last year, the Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF) – an NGO providing education to underprivileged children in Cambodia – made global headlines with its “socially distanced” football initiative. This year, a world-class football club – Tottenham Hotspur FC – will wear special edition jerseys to show their support for ISF

  • Nine US franchises eye Cambodia debut

    Nine famous US franchising companies are looking for business opportunities and expansion into Cambodia to build a footstep for a strong foundation in Southeast Asia. The US embassy in Phnom Penh, in partnership with the US Foreign Commercial Service and with support from the American