Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sunday Brunch at Naga







Sunday Brunch at Naga

Sunday Brunch at Naga

120907_06a

NagaWorld’s regular Sunday buffet is a repository of European and Asian culinary delights. Photograph: Chhim Sreyneang/Phnom Penh Post

Plenty of people have an instinctual distaste for casinos. The garish display of excess. The cacophony and electronic whistles of the poker machines. The occasional distraught person tumbling out the front entrance, clearly a lot lighter in the hip pocket than when they entered.

In a society where foreigners still struggle, even after months and years, to come to terms with such a severe disparity in wealth, the idea of a casual trip to the most famous casino in the country seems crass to say the least. Whatever urge one might have for a punt is certainly tempered by the building’s proximity to the country’s seat of government, the gray concrete walls of its hotel towering over the red tiled spires of the National Assembly below.

A lot of expats steer clear of NagaWorld for these reasons, but inevitably there will come an event, an invitation to dine, or a sustained bout of peer pressure. Even for the most trenchant puritans, there’s an excellent culinary reason to overcome any moral objections to this little local shrine to Mammon.

Each week for the last three years, four of NagaWorld’s four flagship restaurants – Le Gourmet, Bistro Romano, The Aristocrat Bar and Indochine – have collaborated to lay out a spread on the first floor.

With each restaurant specialising in different European and Asian cuisine, guests have a choice of stacking their plate with just about every delicacy under the sun. Whatever they choose, they have to choose judiciously, because there’s no way even the most starved diner would have the stomach room to try one of everything.

Beginning in the dining hall, an array of roasts and pastries are lined up beside a waitress preparing miniature Eggs Benedict, presumably for the people who would feel a little shy about eating roast lamb so early in the day. Laid out in the next room are even more temptations, some enough to seem otherworldly to anyone who’s spent long enough in the country. Oysters – honest to God oysters – shipped in from overseas segue into cuts of raw fish, freshly pressed pasta and 12 different flavours of ice cream, including durian and lychee for those who’ve acquired a taste for the hotly debated local produce.

Headed by executive chef Uwe Manfred, who has overseen Naga’s restaurant operations for two years after more than a decade working in Asia, the Sunday buffet sees a steady stream of locals, expatriates and hotel guests filling the restaurant tables.

Diners range from young families seeking a civil meal in the relaxed elegance of the first floor foyer to groups of men who evidently pledged themselves to a 24 hour fast in the hopes of consuming their body weight in sushi.

Manfred hopes to keep expanding Naga’s fare, with plans to open a teppanyaki restaurant in the coming months and incorporating even more Japanese cuisine into the Sunday brunches.

For the chef, cultivating a regular clientele eager to sample the work of some of the best restaurateurs in the country has been a point of professional pride.

“We developed the buffet over time to the present quality and layout, with seasonal additions to our existing menu selection to keep our brunch interesting,” he says.

The Naga brunch takes place every Sunday between 11am and 3pm. Prices are $US39 including prossecco and wine, $29 excluding beverages, and $15 for children.

MOST VIEWED

  • All inbound flights set to face added scrutiny

    Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said on Monday that the ministry is monitoring all inbound flights, after it was announced that only those from Malaysia and Indonesia will be temporarily cancelled from August 1. Vandine said on Monday that the two countries were identified as

  • Flights from Indonesia, Malaysia cancelled

    A Ministry of Health official has warned of the possibility of Covid-19 spreading through community transmission after the total infected cases in the Kingdom rose to 225. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told reporters on Saturday that the possibility of community transmission cannot be overlooked and that

  • Man in quarantine dies of ‘overdose’

    The Ministry of Health on Thursday said a Cambodian migrant worker who died while being isolated at a quarantine centre in Tbong Khmum province’s Kroch Chhmar district may have died from syncope or overdose of tablets. In a statement, the ministry said the 21-year-old

  • Ministry set to reopen 20 schools in August

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport will allow 20 high-safety-standards schools to reopen next month despite new cases of Covid-19 in the country. Ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha wrote in a Telegram message on Wednesday that the schools are in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang.