Seasoned restauranteurs open a tasty two-for-one enterprise

The dual-concept space has a Spanish tapas bar upstairs called Tipico (pictured) with an Asian-themed burger joint called Roots and Burgers below. Scott Rotzoll
The dual-concept space has a Spanish tapas bar upstairs called Tipico (pictured) with an Asian-themed burger joint called Roots and Burgers below. Scott Rotzoll

Seasoned restauranteurs open a tasty two-for-one enterprise

The most recent addition to the Russian Market (Tuol Tom Poung) neighbourhood’s fast-growing food scene is a two-for-one.The dual-concept space has a Spanish tapas bar upstairs called Tipico with an Asian-themed burger joint called Roots and Burgers below.

Both spots are set to stay open until 11pm – a novelty in an area that on most nights dozes off quite early. Tipico opened last week to a large crowd, while Roots and Burgers will start serving customers in the coming days.

The project has been carefully planned by Tania Unsworth and Marco Julià Eggert, a European couple who have come up with a running list of restaurant ideas while living in Phnom Penh for the past three years.

“Instead of making one big restaurant, we did them both,” Marco explained with a laugh this week. “I guess it’s a way to diversify the risk more.” Both have deep roots in the restaurant industry.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Croquetas and patatas bravas for a more upscale bar food option at Tipico. Audrey wilson

For Marco, who is also the managing director at the FCC, they go back a couple of generations to his Spanish grandfather.

Tipico takes as its inspiration Marco’s native Barcelona. Spanish-inspired but locally sourced tiles line the floor and a long wooden bar stocked with ingredients for fresh, handmade cocktails anchors the space.

Most of the tables are set up in a converted balcony beneath a long bank of windows with a panoramic view of the surrounding neighbourhood.

Sitting in the sunlight, tapas classics such as the ham croquettes ($4.75), patatas bravas (fried potatoes) ($4.50) and gambas al ojillo (prawns with garlic) ($6.95) went down well with a fresh fruit smoothie ($3.25). While there is a wide selection of nibbles in the menu, the breadth of drinks is almost as varied.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The gambas al ojillo, prawns with garlic, were a real winner at Tipico. scott rotzoll

In fact, the first page is devoted entirely to the gin and tonic (starting at $4.50), Spain’s appropriated national cocktail. (“I have to say we have the best gin and tonics in Spain,” Marco says.) Nine types of gin are paired with different garnishes. Also on offer are a handful of other cocktails available by the glass or by the jug, as well as an extensive list of Spanish and Chilean wines.

Behind a door next to the bar, a dumbwaiter connects Tipico to the space below. The kitchen is located on the ground floor with Roots and Burgers, and the two restaurants will share a chef – also a Spanish native.

Roots and Burgers will open earlier in the day and serve burgers and vegetables with Asian flavours – an alternative to the Western-style burgers and fries served elsewhere in the city – as well as a selection of steamed bao buns, Chinese-style pork rolls with growing global popularity.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The most recent addition to Russian Market’s food scene is on Street 454. Scott Rotzoll

Marco says they drew on ideas from cities around the region and, strangely enough, London – “where there is currently a bao bun craze”.

The downstairs restaurant will also feature a selection of teas and coffees, as with the tapas bar, and take on more of a cafe vibe. Tania and Marco envision a migration up the stairs as the evening wears on.

While the addition of the two restaurants is set to substantially increase the diversity of food on offer around Russian Market, according to Rene Fritschi, a friend and consultant on the business, the new space’s greatest selling point is the European operating hours.

“I know it’s good for the whole area, because in the evening there’s not much open after 9pm,” he said. Tipico Tapas (open 11am to 11pm) is located at #80 Street 454, on the first floor. Roots and Burgers (open 7am to 11pm) will launch downstairs early this week. Tel: 023 986 453.

MOST VIEWED

  • 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

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,