Elvis’s belt, Madonna’s hat and Eminem’s shoes are star attractions at the new Hard Rock Café, which celebrates a soft opening today and is the latest addition to King’s Road Angkor.
Boasting an impressive collection of rock n’ roll memorabilia from over the decades, the 260-seater café also features a souvenir ‘rock shop,’ an all-American menu, and a ‘vibe host’ to ensure patrons have a good time.
This is Cambodia’s first ever Hard Rock, with a second slated to open in Phnom Penh in late 2015. It’s set in a colonial-style building on the corner of River Road and High School Road, with a distinctive giant illuminated guitar hung outside to light the way.
It has 164 seats on two floors, plus 96 on the riverside terrace and, like its sister cafes, Hard Rock’s walls are lined with various rock star memorabilia, from Johnny Rotten’s jacket to Jon Bon Jovi’s signed guitar.
In keeping with the other 140 Hard Rock Cafés in more than 50 countries around the world, the menu will draw mainly on hearty American diner-inspired cuisine.
Typical fare in other Hard Rock cafes includes the hickory barbecue bacon cheeseburger, New York strip steak and fried jumbo shrimp platter.
General manager Benjamin Le Grand says many ingredients, such as the burger beef patty, will be imported.
In the run-up to opening, the management team and head chef underwent six weeks training in Atlanta, and Le Grand says it will be interesting to see how the Khmer staff picks up the customer service style for which the US is famous.
Part of the music menu will be overseen by a person known as the “V.I.B.E host” who, Le Grand says, “Will basically carry an iPad through the restaurant so diners can cue up music – they can approach the tables and the customer can request a song that we can put on straight away. They’ll be checking everything is fine at the same time.”
The restaurant shop will be on the ground floor, where souvenir hunters can purchase t-shirts, caps, badges and other items.
“It’s unbelievable how many Hard Rock fans there are,” says Le Grand. “We’ve already got fans from all around the world contacting us asking when they can visit the newest café. It’s huge.”
Le Grand says in due course there will be live music at the café, to coincide with the start of the high season.
Hard Rock Café will give an introductory 30 per cent discount on its menu from June 20 until July 1, and may announce further low season promotions throughout July and August. There will be a grand opening in October..