Enso – a new cafe serving up “contemporary Australian cuisine” on the ground floor of an apartment building in Street 240 – is the kind of place where you don’t really feel like you’re in Cambodia anymore. It could easily be located in Brisbane’s Valley or Prahran in Melbourne.
The bright interior – which doubles as a gift shop selling trinkets, glassware and ceramic knickknacks – is cool and no fuss, with a high-ceiling, industrial metal light fittings and parquetry flooring. It feels a little like an IKEA showroom. Outside is an espresso bar with tables and chairs for those who like to smoke and/or sweat while they eat.
Like those of most Australian cafes, Enso’s menu is diverse, but the food is all of a high standard with great produce cooked well.
For lunch, there are dishes like the honey-glazed ham hock with potato salad, honey and grain mustard dressing and a poached egg ($7.50) that is sweet, but not overpoweringly so, letting the flavour of the pork shine through.
Then there’s the sous vide chicken with potato and parmesan gnocchi, mushrooms and corn puree ($7.50). We found the chicken tender and moist and the gnocchi having just the right amount of bite.
There are a goodly number of different breakfast options too. The Chak Chouka ($6.50) (Tunisian-style baked eggs with spicy sausage, tomato, peppers, olives) is hearty and flavoursome while the bacon and eggs with artisan sour dough ($4.50) are simple and delicious.
Our pick though is the eggs Benedict ($7), which piles heaps of fresh, bright baby spinach and tasty leg ham on toasted sourdough with a poached egg and good hollaindaise.
Which brings us to our only real gripes with the place: the poached eggs, touted as being cooked in a sous vide machine at 62 degrees, are consistently underdone (for our tastes) with whites still gooey and translucent.
And extra espresso shots cost $1, which makes strong coffees comparatively expensive, especially when you add in a 7 per cent service surcharge.
Still, you can ask them to cook the eggs a little longer and get your coffee fix elsewhere. Otherwise, Enso is one of the best new upper-price range cafes in town.
Enso is located at #50, Street 240. Tel: 078 626 240.