Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Circus teams with Sojourn resort to open big-top café

Circus teams with Sojourn resort to open big-top café

The Phare Café team with Victor Everaere from Phare Circus. LUIS BARRETO
The Phare Café team with Victor Everaere from Phare Circus. LUIS BARRETO

Circus teams with Sojourn resort to open big-top café

Since its opening in Siem Reap six months ago, Phare, the Cambodian Circus has been warmly received as a welcome addition to Siem Reap’s evening entertainment options.

Spectacular performances have consistently drawn crowds keen to be wowed, and the addition of a big-top tent in May ensured the show goes on whatever the weather.

Yet despite this veritable success, the Phare team always felt there was something missing.

“A café was certainly something which was lacking for us,” says Victor Everaere, assistant operations manager. “We knew that having a meal or glass of wine before or after the show is an important part of a nice evening, but we had no experience building or running a restaurant.”

Deciding the best option would be to search for a partner with more hospitality know-how, co-director Huot Dara approached the team responsible for the fabulous food at Sojourn Boutique Villas.

The café’s banana blossom and chicken salad, with beef and black bean in the back ground. LUIS BARRETO
The café’s banana blossom and chicken salad, with beef and black bean in the back ground. LUIS BARRETO

Dean McLachlan of Sojourn says his team always really liked the idea of what Phare does. “The circus is such a positive thing, and we were always keen to support it. Plus we already have a great catering team, so it just made sense,” he adds.

In just ten days the Sojourn team designed and erected a chic little open-air bar and restaurant which, McLachlan rightly points out, displays more than a touch of the resort’s sophisticated style.

The team also worked hard to create a relaxed outdoor dining area, with faultlessly laid tables set against a backdrop of flickering fire torches and newly planted banana trees.

The Phare Café has a selection of drinks, as well as an à la carte menu full of food both fast and flavourful.

“We designed the menu so everything is quick,” says McLachlan. “All of the dishes take just five minutes to freshly prepare, so even if people turn up 15 minutes before the show they still have time to grab a snack and a glass of wine.”

Particularly popular so far are the satay chicken skewers and lemongrass beef kebabs, both of which are served in a banana leaf basket handy for holding while watching a performance.

For those who prefer something a little more formal, Phare Café also features a pre-order only Khmer set menu of Cambodian favourites such as mango salad, fish amok, and a sticky-sweet caramelised banana dessert.

McLachlan has already received positive feedback. “So far, so good,” he says. “It’s early days so we’re still seeing what people like, but we’re already working on plans to offer more options for people just coming for food, including special deals for expats. Watch this space.”

Everaere adds, “We are so pleased that we can now offer the complete experience of ‘A Night at the Circus,’ and believe this is a great addition to the already vibrant arts and culture scene in Siem Reap.”

The Phare Café is next to the Phare Circus big top tent. It is open every day from 6.30pm, and welcomes both circus-goers and those without tickets to a show.

Sarah Brown

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea

  • Judge lands in court after crashing into alleged thief

    Sen Sok district police on Thursday sent a Koh Kong Provincial Court judge to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on manslaughter charges after he crashed his car into a woman riding a motorbike on Wednesday, killing her. District police chief Hour Meng Vang told The

  • Gov’t to boost Siem Reap tourism

    The Ministry of Tourism released the results of an inter-ministerial committee meeting concerning Siem Reap province’s Tourism Development Master Plan for 2020-2035 on Wednesday, revealing the government’s plan to improve the overall tourist landscape there. The meeting was attended by Minister of Tourism

  • Residents ordered to remove structures on Phnom Penh’s canal

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng has ordered authorities to act against the perpetrators who built houses along the Luo 5 canal in Meanchey district. The municipal administration plans to create a committee to solve the matter. The order was given on Wednesday while Sreng led

  • ‘On the offensive’: Cambodia to load up on loans to stimulate economy

    As the dust settles on the economy, Cambodia comes to grips with what needs to be done to turn the economy around, starting with a big shopping list for credit ‘We are going on the offensive,” Vongsey Vissoth, Ministry of Economy and Finance permanent secretary

  • Government set to make up for cancelled April holiday

    The government is set to make up for a five-day Khmer New Year holiday late this month or early next month. The holiday was earlier cancelled due to the onset of Covid-19. The announcement is expected on Friday as the government is studying a range

  • Families told to register for cash handouts

    The government has called on poor families to apply to commune authorities for evaluation to receive financial support during the Covid-19 crisis. A $300 million budget has been planned for implementation within a year. Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state Vongsey Visoth said this

  • Crumbling prices, rent ruffle condo segment

    The prolonged decline in international arrivals to Cambodia intensified by renewed Covid-19 fears has driven down condominium sales prices and rental rates in Phnom Penh, a research report said. CBRE Cambodia, the local affiliate of US commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE Group

  • Over $3M in traffic fines collected in two months

    Traffic police officers collected over $3 million in fines throughout the Kingdom during the past two months when officers strictly enforced the law in accordance with a May sub-decree, officials said. As incentives, law enforcement officers received between 200,000 and two million riel ($50 to $500) each. The figures