At Miam, there’s more to the logo – an intertwined knife, spoon and fork – than meets the eye. It represents the three French friends behind the new restaurant – Sov Men (spoon), Sorya Sao (fork) and chef Arthur P (knife) – and their collaborative approach.
The three met while working together in Maison Kayser before deciding to strike out on their own. Sorya brings her experience working in bars and restaurants in France to the mixology side of Miam, while Sov has expertise in managing the floor from his time in France and Australia.
Arthur, meanwhile, has worked as a chef in Holland and South Africa, before coming to Phnom Penh. The result is an innovative blend of cuisine and drinks in a friendly and warm environment.
“Here we wanted to mix our knowledge,” Sov said. “She’s on the bar, I’m on the floor, he’s in the kitchen, so we can do everything from breakfast to dinner.”
A ubiquitous and often meaningless description, “fusion” is taken very literally at Miam – with good results. Sorya and Sov each have Cambodian heritage, and that influence is apparent on the largely French menu.
The Duck Magret ($9.5) is a grilled duck breast, finished in the oven, with a Hoisin glaze, with a medley of beans and peas on top of a carrot puree. The Khmer Risotto ($7), meanwhile, is a twist on the classic Italian dish. With Arborio rice, lemongrass, coconut milk, parmesan and a range of Khmer spices, the dish is aromatic and truly unique.
The standout, though, may be the pannacotta ($3.9), which is spiced with chai and cinnamon, with lime zest on top. “We always try to mix new things,” Sov said.
“You’ll never see just a pasta Bolognese, or Carbonara. It’s only original stuff.”
That rings true for the bar as well, which fits the overall vibe of Miam as a kind of laboratory of recipes. Sorya makes homemade syrups for cocktails and, using a dehydrator, has jars filled with garnishes like dried oranges. Most of the drinks are either gin-, vodka- or rum-based, often macerated with other ingredients.
The Very Berry Collins ($5.5) has vodka, basil, fresh berries, lemon and cranberry, while the Very Old Cambodian features rum, palm sugar, bitters, lime, palm spirits and soda. Like the food menu, Sorya insists, nothing is fixed at the bar, which is a constant work in progress.
“We really exchange in the kitchen and the room,” she said. “It’s nice to have an alchemy between us.”
While Miam is a bit pricier than your average Phnom Penh restaurant, it is reasonable given the quality of ingredients and of the cooking. A $12 lunch set menu features a starter and main dish, plus a drink and coffee, while a menu with a starter, main and dessert goes for $15.
This week’s mains included a Dory Meuniere, Homemade Gnocchi and Chicken Fricassee. In all, it’s a place to indulge casually, or simply enjoy a cup of coffee or cocktail in a bright atmosphere.
“I like to think about us like we don’t have so much pretension,” Sorya said. “We are affordable. We are casual. Come as you are, and that’s it.”