Japanese team with Cambodian partner: (left to right) Sonatra Securities Deputy CEO Jun Takeguchi, Chairman and Oknah Sorn Sokna, General Director Fukuda Akira and Sonatra Microfinance CEO Tetsuji Nagata. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post
A new Japanese restaurant opened last night in Boeung Keng Kang 1, aiming at the middle market with teishoku-style set lunches from US$5 to $8 and a cook-yourself dinner menu specialising in beef.
This is the fifth restaurant for Japanese General Director Fukuda Akira, who has two similar ones in Osaka, Japan, and two in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
The Uraetei BBQ Japan restaurant, located just off Norodom on Street 360, held a grand opening last night attended by friends and investors including Oknha Sorn Sokna who helped scout the location, which had been a villa.
With a $600,000 investment, the villa was totally refurbished in Japanese style, with downstairs booths, each with a BBQ cooker embedded in the centre of the table. Upstairs, there are three rooms available for private groups, holding 10, 15 and 20 people, each with its own BBQ set-up.
Sonatra Microfinance CEO Tetsuji Nagata, one of Oknha Sorn Sokna’s partners, invited restaurateur Fukuda Akira into Cambodia, assembling the group of investors, the majority of whom are Japanese.
General Director Fukuda said the target market for the new place is the medium level, with reasonable prices, because the same strategy is wildly successful in Ho Chi Minh City.
Of Fukuda’s four restaurants, the two in Ho Chi Minh City are the busiest, he said. He expects the same in Phnom Penh.
“Every day my Ho Chi Minh City restaurants are full,” Fukuda said. “The market in Phnom Penh and Cambodia is growing very quickly and because the economy has started expanding, people are eating more meat.”
While the restaurant specializes in beef dishes, including Australian and American beef, the menu also offers pork, chicken, fresh shrimp, squid, octopus and oysters.
The soft opening for Uraetei took place on June 21, attracting 60 customers on the first day, and up to 100 customers per day since then.
To contact the reporter on this story: Stuart Alan Becker at [email protected]