In a town where restaurants are bursting at the seams with tables, diners are hurtled in and rushed out by hostesses harking of cheap eats and even cheaper beer, Tangram Garden hopes to be a great deal different.
The brand new Wat Damnak restaurant has been set up by Dutch expat Daniel de Gruiter and his wife, Kimty, and the garden eatery serves a mix of Khmer favourites and grilled goodies.
Tangram is aiming to create a private dining atmosphere within a restaurant setting. “It’s not just about going for dinner, it’s about the experience,” said Daniel. “We’re trying to keep people a little bit longer.
We want it to be how we dine in Europe, that’s what I miss here in Cambodia. People don’t take the time to enjoy the experience of having dinner.”
Consisting of nine mini dining pavilions, a medium stage pavilion, and a large pavilion for groups, the restaurant has a romantic touch with a genuinely local feel. Daniel said he and his wife travelled the country taking pictures of everything they liked, hoping to keep the pavilions and the garden looking and feeling traditional.
Daniel’s brother Micha heads up the kitchen – after months of Daniel asking him to come, he eventually quit his job as a chef in Holland, leased his house and jumped on a plane. Six weeks later, he’s a pro at Khmer cuisine and has brought his own flavours to the grill.
Daniel describes Tangram’s signature dish as a mixed grill platter, with steak, pork ribs, chops, chicken wings, prawns, vegetable skewers, corn and fries, all made for sharing.