Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Black Bambu serves gourmet with passion and conscience

Black Bambu serves gourmet with passion and conscience

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The spacious ground level featuring the bar counter. Pha Lina

Black Bambu serves gourmet with passion and conscience

Not the regular, run-off-the-mill fusion restaurant of East meets West cuisine, Black Bambu sets the hospitality bar with fusions in ways more than one.

In partnership with non-profit organisation Cambodia Children’s Fund (CCF), Black Bambu provides a stepping stone for youth from the CCF to launch them into the working world, particularly in the hospitality industry.

“The decision to open up this restaurant was to train students from the CCF to give them some vocational training and skills that they can apply in real-life situations, so that they can hopefully move on from being fully supported by the CCF to becoming [fully] independent,” Tom O’ Connor, F&B consultant to Black Bambu, says.

The vocational training that Black Bambu provides is centered on building the trainees’ self-esteem, elevating their self-confidence so that they have more opportunities to apply their skills professionally. Currently, almost 90 per cent of the staff comes from the CCF.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

“A lot of things come from confidence. Once you have confidence, you learn things quickly. Whether they are trained in bartending, making cocktails, pouring wine, associating with customers and speaking in English, these are all contributing factors to building their confidence,” O’Connor explains.

Black Bambu’s contemporary concept is evident in the restaurant’s structured lines and monochromatic theme. The double-storey restaurant features a wide front al fresco area with stone steps leading up to the entrance and a side al fresco patio, creating an airy feel that plays on space and natural light.

Having been in operation for a little over a year now, Black Bambu holds its own identity in serving up an eclectic mix of dishes and finely crafted cocktails. Apparent in its dishes, such as the House Made Riccota & Roasted Eggplant ($7) – which has Japanese edamame beans in it – the Grilled Beef Skewers with Pomegranate and Soy Glaze ($8.80), and Pork Belly with Soy Caramel ($9), are head chef Al Schaaf’s Japanese, Italian, Eastern-Mediterranean, and American inspirations.

“We try to strike a balance within the menu while offering a wide range of interesting items,” Schaaf says, adding that there are sharing platters that let guests taste different things all at once, as well as larger plates for individual consumption.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Homemade ricotta and roasted eggplant. Below: pork belly with soy caramel. Pha Lina

Not limited to only satiating customers’ appetites, the diverse range of food is part of Black Bambu’s aim in exposing the trainees to different flavours and different styles of cooking. Half of the kitchen staff are from CCF, while the other half are qualified and experienced workers who help with the training for the youth from the program.

“We still have our own identity as a fully functioning restaurant, and are not solely a free-for-all funding program. In that regard, we provide training to the staff to a high standard of service, and, ultimately, build people for the future of Cambodia,” says O’Connor.

MOST VIEWED

  • Reuters: US Embassy fired 32 staff members for sharing pornography

    The United States Embassy in Phnom Penh has fired 32 non-diplomatic staff members who were allegedly caught exchanging pornographic images and video, including of minors, according to the news agency Reuters. Four sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the content was shared in

  • Our 2018 guide to spending Khmer New Year in Phnom Penh

    Khmer New Year festivities are upon us. For the next few days, travellers will be making their way to their home provinces to eat, celebrate, play traditional games and visit a pagoda with offerings. If you will be staying put in Phnom Penh for the

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the