Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - At La Pétanque, having a ball à la Francaise




At La Pétanque, having a ball à la Francaise

Sebastian Rodriguez (left) and Adrien Adi at the bar, which opened earlier this month.
Sebastian Rodriguez (left) and Adrien Adi at the bar, which opened earlier this month. Hong Menea

At La Pétanque, having a ball à la Francaise

On Tuesday this week, Adrien Adi was putting the final touches on the bar he co-owns and just opened – a hangout spot dedicated to the French game of pétanque. It is the only bar in town that provides its patrons with the sand pit and apple-sized iron balls that are the key components to the game, which is also called bocce or boules.

“We’ve just opened for one week, so there’s a lot to do,” Adi said, as he installed hooks to hang black-and-white photographs of his countrymen playing the game, while also keeping an eye on his 3-month-old French-Cambodian daughter. His business partner, Sebastian Rodriguez, was at the bar preparing for the evening service.

When the two would-be restaurateurs arrived in Cambodia to visit a French-Cambodian friend after a Southeast Asia travelling tour, they discovered that starting a business, even for foreigners, is relatively easy in Cambodia.

So they settled in Phnom Penh and helped to open Banh Mi & Bros, a restaurant serving Vietnamese sandwiches that opened on Street 63 before expanding to Russian Market. They have since sold the restaurant and have shifted their focus to the bar business.

“We wanted to do something different,” Rodriguez said. “We wanted to do something we are really passionate about.”

Since they were boys running around in Paris, the two friends have loved playing pétanque. Rodriquez used to play almost every day in his hometown and the game is one of Adi’s favourite hobbies, along with watching and helping his mother cook. They quickly discovered that French colonialism had left an impact on local recreation and that Cambodians still enjoy playing the game, which inspired the idea for the bar.

The sand pit, where patrons can play pétanque with friends.
The sand pit, where patrons can play pétanque with friends. Hong Menea

In true French style, Adi and Rodriguez recommend sipping Pastis ($1.5) or Ricard ($2) while playing, but they also offer cocktails like caipirinhas and margaritas ($3.5 each). The menu includes snacks like chicken fingers ($3.5), as well as a charcuterie plate ($6.5) with chorizo, cured ham and dry cured sausage, along with a baguette, olives and salted butter.

“My mom’s home-cooked food is really good, and we are trying to do the same here,”Adi said. “Our food combined with simple decoration gives the clients a warm, homelike atmosphere.”

There are also other games to play at La Pétanque, such as UNO, darts and Jenga, but the main attraction is clear.

“In our country, pétanque is for holiday, summer and having fun,” Rodriguez says. “People here also love it, so we want to give them a nice place to play.”

La Petanque is open every day from 4pm to midnight. It is located at #203, Street 155 in Toul Tompoung. Tel: 096 785 8641

Additional reporting by Cindy Co

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Woman seeks answers after arrest of American partner

    Filipina Lalaine de Guzman, 48, is demanding answers for the detention of her American partner by Cambodian immigration officers after he was arrested at their home almost 90 days ago. She said without an arrest warrant or proffering any criminal charges, Stephen Sidney Greatsinger, 56, is being detained

  • ‘No chance Cambodia booted out of ASEAN’

    A group of former and current Cambodian diplomats on Tuesday fired back at retired Singaporean diplomat Bihalari Kausikan after he proposed that ASEAN dismiss Cambodia and Laos from the bloc. In an open letter, the Cambodian diplomats said Kausikan’s remarks were made from a

  • Phnom Penh underpass opens to ease traffic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced a temporary opening of the 488m underpass at the Chaom Chao roundabout in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district, which was recently completed to connect traffic from National Road 4 to Russian Federation Blvd. The move is to reduce

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital