There's no new twist for La Fête

There's no new twist for La Fête

130301 12b
The food at Street 294’s Cafe La Fête may not excite, but the pool will be a blessing in April. Photograph: Ruth Keber

The Phnom Penh cuisine scene is plagued by pedestrian restaurants: mid-range, East-West fusion eateries with a European influence. Think quiches, paninis, alongside fish amok and an on-site deli selling fresh food to go. Some of these places are harmless and enjoyable; others project a pretentious, contrived screen of sophistication.
Tonle Bassac’s Cafe La Fête, which recently had its soft opening, falls into the former category. With the owner of the well-established Origami Japanese restaurant at the helm, La Fête combines an unusual mish-mash of French, Italian and Japanese influences to deliver a menu with a largely European character.

130301 12c

Coming from a chef, however, the restaurant’s main menu is disappointingly ordinary: pepperoni pizza ($5), quiche Lorraine ($3), spaghetti bolognese ($4). We ordered the smoked salmon salad with feta cheese ($4) for lunch, as well as Mentai Ko spaghetti ($4), carbonara with marinated roe and scallops in lieu of bacon and eggs. The smoked salmon salad is satisfying enough, although its mundane composition of salmon, feta and veggies will not turn any heads. By contrast, the roe in the creamy Mentai Ko gives the sauce a bumpy texture that is not appealing. Taste wise, it was edible but not groundbreaking. The ham and cheese paninis are equally ordinary. The only exciting element here are the prices: the most expensive main dish is $7, and most items on the menu are in the neighborhood of $4. While it might be dishing out run-of-the-mill food, at least La Fête keeps a lid on prices – unlike some of its competitiors.

The baked goods, made on-site, are delicious – the chocolate tarts ($2) especially so. The freshly baked pizza ($4-5) is also superbly done, with a rich, well-seasoned tomato sauce and a crispy thin base.

Despite its shortcomings, La Fête does provide decent, affordable food. With an experienced proprietor and a good location on Street 294 two blocks east of Norodom Boulevard, the restaurant has the ingredients of success. Given the links with Origami, it would be wise for this chef to get creative and add a stronger Japanese flair to the menu. With a little experimentation, a pedestrian restaurant can pick up the pace.

MOST VIEWED

  • Sihanoukville land prices skyrocketing amid breakneck development

    Sihanoukville, the Kingdom’s most famous beach destination for tourists, is seemingly becoming a paradise for Chinese investors as well. The huge influx of Chinese investors has caused property values to rise, especially the price of land, which has nearly doubled in some places near

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by

  • MESSAGE FROM SINGAPORE AMBASSADOR TO CAMBODIA

    Dear readers of The Phnom Penh Post, As Singapore celebrates 53 years of nationhood, we also acknowledge and honour the friendship and support of our regional and international partners and friends, without whom the Singapore Story could not have been written. ASEAN In particular, Singapore has