Jan 10 2011
Last month Raffles Hotel Le Royal revamped its less-expensive brunch at Cafe Monivong (not to be confused with the $88 option at Le Royal) to offer an entirely Asian menu. Previously, the menu had been essentially a pared-down version of the French-inspired offerings at Le Royal. Now it’s sashimi, dim sum and various Southeast Asian dishes.
Admission to the land of made-to-order spring rolls, salmon sashimi and free-flow cocktails is $26. In order to get the best value for money, we arrived as soon as they opened the doors at noon and planned to stay until they rolled us out at three.
The drink selection makes spending a few hours seem like a reasonable proposition. They have durian shakes, fresh-pressed sugar cane, Vietnamese-style iced coffee with condensed milk and when we were there, “Cambodian cocktail,” made of sugar cane juice, pineapple juice and vodka.
The sashimi was excellent, although someone in the kitchen could use a lesson in making sushi rice properly, as it was tasteless and soggy. Khmer-style duck curry, Chinese dumplings and the various salads were the highlights of the meal. There were a few hiccups, but overall, I got my money’s worth.
Too much so, in fact. By the time I got to dessert — a chocolate fountain, homemade ice cream, traditional Khmer desserts, fresh fruits, various cakes and other sweets — I had lost the ability to think critically about my choices. I found myself adding sashimi to my dessert plate and clutching the ceramic elephant-head cocktail urn as if my very life depended on it. It was a relief when they finally told us the kitchen was closing.
My new year’s resolution? No buffet brunches in 2011. I’m clearly not mature enough to handle them. But you probably are, so if you want to splash out, but not too far out, Raffles Cafe Monivong is the perfect choice.
Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Cafe Monivong
92 Rukhak Vithei, off Monivong Blvd
Brunch 12:00 to 15:00
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