Jun 20 2012
Phnom Penh is full of secret places — alleys and entrances and little squares that you’re unlikely to ever notice. Most tourists never take the risk of getting lost wandering in this hidden side of the city. But if you venture down a typical alleyway on well-known Street 240 and turn the corner, you’ll find ARTillery Cafe bursting out in blue and white Mediterranean loveliness and incongruity.
ARTillery is the first of several businesses planning to create Street 240 1/2, a slightly Harry Potter reference that has me furtively looking around for men with long white hair or strange nostrils. None appear, but there is a twinklingly bright cafe with packing case tables laid out under a blue awning, a little bit of magic all by itself.
The owners are determined to cram as much as possible into this small space — there’s the cafe, a clothes shop, gallery space and a cushion lounge. But rather than feeling busy and cluttered, the pure white walls and cool interior mean the place oozes calm. The location adds to this hidden-away sense, with an accessories shop and second-hand Japanese furniture store the only other businesses currently in this residential alley.
ARTillery Cafe’s focus is tasty food that’s good for you. There’s an emphasis on freshness and quality organic produce, and there’s definitely no MSG sprinkled on top. It’s a lovely quiet place to start the day with a breakfast of scrambled eggs, served with a big sprig of basil and doorsteps of homemade toast (US$3). Wash it down with a pot of Yorkshire Tea (“like tea used to be”) or fair-trade coffee (US$2). For lunchtimes, salads and sandwiches are staple choices — the goat’s cheese is so tasty you may be able to distract hardened carnivores from noticing that the menu is meat-free. If they do demand their pound of flesh, The Shop — a two-minute walk away on Street 240 proper — offers similar fare with some meat dishes.
Opened early in 2012, ARTillery is already popular with lunching ladies taking a break from Street 240′s boutiques, as well as vegetarians and health foodies. It’s ideal if you want to sidestep the city for a while and enjoy a plate of something familiar, tasty and wholesome.
Street 240 1/2 (off Street 240), Phnom Penh
T: (078) 985 530
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