Embassy Restaurant: Unexpected Luxury in Siem Reap
We’d been hiking through the Cambodian jungle, touring the Angkor temples in late May. It was just past tourist season and the temperatures were in the high 90’s with humidity to match. It was the final night of our trip and we wanted to celebrate this unexpected victory. For years we’d talked of going to Angkor Wat, and finally added it as an extension to another trip at the last minute. We were seeking a culinary adventure to equal our journey. We’d already explored the pub street area of Siem Reap, with it’s gritty feel of constant sales pitches from souvenir store owners and tuk tuk drivers, and hadn’t found a restaurant worthy of a final celebration, until Embassy.
Described as a fusion of Khmer and French cuisine, Embassy is the brainchild of two women known as the “Kimsan twins” – Kimsan Pol and Kimsan Sok. Both have worked with Michelin starred chefs in France before embarking on their Cambodian creation – a fusion of high end French cuisine presentation with local Khmer flavors. The result is astounding – more at home on the Champs Elysee than King’s Road Angkor Village.
Reservations are suggested as the elegant upstairs dining room fills up quickly. The decor is white themed suggesting French country with flowers made of glass beads on the table top. The menu changes monthly, and was a 7-course tasting menu offering pairing suggestions with wines around the globe from Europe, South Africa and Australia. We marveled at the creative arrangements of finely prepared food and sauces with local flavors like galangal, kaffir lime, turmeric, sweet chili, coconut milk, peanut, durian and jasmine. It was a fitting marriage of disparate cultures.
1. Amuse Bouche: Chreav village corn porridge and fish cotton
This comforting starter was a rich and creamy concoction that tasted like a warm corn bisque with fish overtones. Chreav is the local village where the corn was sourced. Most entrees included local edible flowers and the staff made a point in telling us that everything was edible.
2. Appetizer: Crispy sticky rice cracker on minced shrimp natang sauce and crunchy vegetables
The appetizer appealed with the soft shrimp paired and fresh herb against the crispy vegetables which created texture and structure. A natang sauce with edible flowers was a fitting accompaniment.
3. Soup: Slow cooked beef chuck, galangal, kaffir lime leaf wrapped in rice paper skin
This soup was a two part presentation with the center stack carefully built to be followed by the pouring of its flavorful broth. The beef dumpling was placed on vegetables and surrounded by a Southeast Asian spiced broth. The dish was so good my husband mentioned how much he liked it and they brought another serving! It was high end comfort food at its best.
3. Granite: Svay Check Roselle flower granite and rice alcohol
This refreshingly light granite akin to sorbet cleansed the palate aptly before the main course. Roselle is a flavor taken from the hibiscus plant. Throughout the meal the courses were well timed and fully explained.
4. Main Course 1: Steamed Sihanoukville white tuna with dry black mushrooms, crispy vermicelli and coriander
The tuna and mushrooms were blended with a rich sauce that sat on top of a crispy vermicelli fashioned into a “nest.” An excellent blend of crunchy, clean and smooth earthiness.
5. Main Course: “Chhar Kaeng” stir-fried pork ribs with tumeric paste, dry sweet chili, charcoal eggplant coconut milk and peanut
The second main course was like a smooth, gourmet curry with fatty, moist pork balancing out the earthy vegetables and herbs.
6. Dessert: Durian and pumpkin custard, rice biscuit a jasmine ice cream
Durian is a popular fruit in this region, known for its pungent smell and creamy texture. There was no smell to this dish but the durian and pumpkin blended into a creamy mixture, accompanied by a fruit sauce and jasmine ice cream. It provided a clean finish to a very pleasing meal.
7. Parting Gift: 4 gourmet macarons from Angkor Macaron in Dragonfruit, Coconut, Mango and Lemon flavors
This unexpected ending was wrapped as if it was a gift from a friend. The macarons, from Angkor Macaron, were expertly made with just the right amount of crunch on the outside, softness in the middle and bursting with tropical fruit flavors from the area. Perfectly French and appropriately Khmer.
Our meal at Embassy was unexpectedly the best meal we had in our entire time in Southeast Asia. If you are seeking a special night to celebrate the achievement of your bucket list destination of Angkor Wat, look no further than Embassy on King’s Road in Angkor Village.
King’s Road Angkor Village
Siem Reap, Cambodia