Lava Restaurant, which opened four months ago, is attracting locals and tourist alike because of its creative cuisine according to owner Seng Sothea.
Lava, which opens daily from 11:30am to 10:30pm, is a sizzling concept specializing in the hot plate technique, where meals are served on a heated surface, gradually changing the flavors, doneness, texture and experience of the food while it is being eaten.
Besides serving hot plates of Cambodian, Chinese and Oriental favorites, the restaurant also serves choices of innovative international fusion dishes, Sothea said, adding that Lava uses only the finest local ingredients plus quality imported items to cook dishes that are very affordable to Siem Reap residents.
Sizzling beef lok lak on a hot plate is the signature item on Lava’s menu, said Sothea, who is also head chef and owner of Mahob restaurant and Hot Stone Café. “Sizzling beef lok lak on a hot plate is a very famous local dish in our restaurant. We use imported US beef with local tomatoes, watercress on a hot plate with homemade Kampot pepper sauce. It costs only $7.20 per plate and it is very delicious…local customers and tourists always order it when they come here,” he said.
Besides, Sizzling beef lok lak on a hot plate, customers also like Sizzling pepper rice on a hot plate, with choice of beef, seafood, or salmon, Sothea said.
Lava Restaurant is located on the upper floor of an airy, alfresco Khmer wooden house – the 60-seater Lava overlooks the Siem Reap River and a lush green river promenade.
Sothea said that Lava started to welcome customers last year in November, after renting a wooden house which he thought would be ideal for his new restaurant.
“It was my idea to start up Lava, because cooking and food has always been my passion” he said.
“The idea came up after I saw an old traditional wooden house which was built in 1969 along the Siem Reap River. It was really nice and I really loved it. The house was surrounded by nature and it looks tranquil with its green environment, so I decided to rent the house from its owner.”
Sothea said that Lava provides a contemporary dining option, but there are also other options in the same complex, including, Sushi Plus restaurant below Lava, serving Japanese cuisine in an air-conditioned room, and the outdoor Rio Lounge Restaurant by the garden, replete with bean bag cushions.
These eating houses are all part of the 14-room River Bay Villa hotel, which also features a Khmer massage studio, Spa Leu, and the Nou Sary art gallery.