US specialty gets the French touch

Cousin’s burgers, served on a large slate tile, are oversized, juicy and cooked-to-order.
Cousin’s burgers, served on a large slate tile, are oversized, juicy and cooked-to-order. Daniel Nass

US specialty gets the French touch

Phnom Penh’s newest burger joint, Cousin’s, has two in-house pastry chefs. They prepare the restaurant’s sesame-seed buns fresh daily, and also make a mean crepe.

According to its French owner, Olivier Drouet, the fresh-baked goods are just one part of the plan to make the new restaurant more than a greasy spoon.

“We wanted to give Cambodia the taste of an authentic American burger with a French touch,” he said from Paris this week. Olivier opened Cousin’s two months ago with his wife, Sitha, when they relocated from France to the Kingdom.

Despite the French roots, the burgers are – as promised – reminiscent of those in the States: oversized, juicy and cooked-to-order.

The decor is neat and orderly.
The decor is neat and orderly. Daniel Nass

Cousin’s serves six varieties, from a simple cheddar cheeseburger (‘The Couz’, $3) to one outfitted with pork belly, French raclette, caramelized onions, pickles and barbeque sauce (‘The Signature’, $5).

Three of the burgers come with chicken rather than beef, and hot dogs are also available on the menu. A board on the street outside advertised a few “salads”, including – inexplicably – spaghetti bolognese.

The burgers are served on a large slate tile; a drink and fries (well-seasoned and perfectly crispy) cost an additional couple of bucks. An order off the “gourmet” menu nets a nearly hidden dessert option not to be missed: Cousin’s crepes, served with Nutella or a choice of fresh fruit.

And the crepe desserts are an unexpected delight .
And the crepe desserts are an unexpected delight . Daniel Nass

Customers will contend with fairly bland surrounds and a fast-food environment: the walls are covered in stock photos, and the restaurant was playing loud Spanish-language pop music when Post Weekend visited this week.

But in its first couple of months, Cousin’s has, according to Olivier, welcomed more customers than anticipated, and likely benefitted from staying open during the Khmer New Year holiday. “We are growing step-by-step,” he said.

For those with a frequent – or late-night – burger craving, Cousin’s is one to add to the list.

Cousin’s, located at #16 Street 200, is open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 10pm, and on Sundays from 11am to 10pm. Tel: 012 528 126.

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