Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - At Bouchon, new digs but same chic style



At Bouchon, new digs but same chic style

A plate of the Coq Au Vin sits on the wooden bar, which was moved from the original Bouchon.
A plate of the Coq Au Vin sits on the wooden bar, which was moved from the original Bouchon. Eliah Lillis

At Bouchon, new digs but same chic style

The much-frequented Bouchon Wine Bar re-opened its doors this month in the capital’s Daun Penh district, bringing new life to a renovated colonial villa.

A fixture of Phnom Penh’s after-work drinks scene for six years at its former location near Wat Botum Park, owner and Frenchman Cédric Gertgen says the decision to move the venue was prompted by the former landlord’s decision to sell. While the venue might be different, Bouchon’s loyal patrons can expect the hallmarks to stay the same.

“We pushed a little bit the food menu. There’s more dishes than before [but] it’s still the same positioning: French food, French wine,” Gertgen says. The new space, while virtually the same surface area, is airier and brighter. “It’s a little less night bar than before,” Gertgen explains.

Even the long, wooden U-shaped bar counter was moved from the old location to stay as the centrepiece of the new locale. Along with live music on Wednesday nights usually pop, jazz or blues and the $3 Martini special on Saturdays from 8pm-10pm, Gertgen held onto the cocktail menu, masterminded by manager Stanislas “Stan” Loubieres, and the founding concept of the wine bar: a rarified selection of only French wines which he stores in his 5,000-bottle wine cellar in the basement.

“We select our own wines and import our own wines from France,” he says, adding that “98 percent of what we have here is exclusive to this place, because we make sure that what we order from France is not already on the market”.

The main floor space, with live music on Wednesday.
The main floor space, with live music on Wednesday. Eliah Lillis

The 1920s villa, from which much of the original structural elements remain, including the tile flooring and lofty ceilings, comes with the addition of a balcony space and terrace with a small bar to service those wishing to enjoy their wine en plein air.

“When we are going to get to the nice season we will also do concerts downstairs, [and] on the balcony here would be a perfect stage for them as well,” Gertgen says, adding that while the full restaurant service will remain indoors, patrons seated outside can order small bites – such as the “eggplant caviar on toast” ($3.50) or tasty cheese and cream croquettes ($4.50) – from a newly expanded tapas menu.

What’s more, Gertgen has recruited the services of 33-year-old chef Bertrand Dardé to refine his quintessentially French menu from which Post Weekend sampled the southern French vegetarian classic ratatouille ($6), which consists of a comforting mix of tomato, zucchini, eggplant and onion cooked in tomato sauce, as well as the Coq Au Vin ($9), a succulent braised rooster leg stewed in red wine, from which the meat fell right off the bone. For those spending a long night at the office, the kitchen takes orders until 11pm.

Bouchon Wine Bar is located at #82 Street 174 and is open from 4pm-midnight Monday-Saturday during its soft open. When fully open, hours will be 11am-2pm and 4pm-midnight seven days a week. Tel: 077 881 103

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants