Alma Cafe

Relaxed Mexican

What we say: 3.5 stars

If you’re feeling peckish in the vicinity of the Russian Market, Alma Cafe is worth hunting out. A Khmer house might not be the obvious location for yummy, good value Mexican food, but the colourful poncho hanging outside shows you’re in the right place.

Seems Jose hasn't eaten enough breakfasts.

Seems Jose hasn’t eaten enough breakfasts.

Alma has two tables under large umbrellas on the front terrace behind a green fence, with a further eight tables inside surrounded by black and white prints of cacti and south of the border scenes. Owned by a Mexican and staffed by enthusiastic Khmer waiters, there’s a friendly, communal feel, and kids are welcome.

Mind the moustache.

Mind the moustache.

Most people go to Alma for breakfast, which is generously served until 14:00, allowing stragglers with hangovers to get their fix. The fixed $4 menu offers huevos rancheros, chorizo hash, a breakfast burrito or chilaquiles, served with juice and unlimited coffee. This is no Tex-Mex fakery but honest-to-goodness Mexican mamma cooking, and you can taste the love in each dish. It’s all in the detail — tortillas are homemade not out of a packet, the salsa is created with specially roasted tomatoes and the bacon is crispy not soggy.

Room for a couple more.

Room for a couple more.

Lunch is served between 11:00 and 14:00 and options change daily, depending on what inspiration strikes at the market each morning. Recent specials have included Tostadas de Tinga de Pollo (shredded chicken in a tomato sauce served on hand-pressed corn tortillas), Quesadillas de Chorizo and Pollo Veracruzano (slow braised chicken with olives and vegetables in a tomato broth). Save some space for $2 homemade cakes — one serving of bread pudding with rum sauce or Kahlua chocolate cake is never enough.

Moustache smuggling is a popular past time at Alma.

Moustache smuggling is a popular past time at Alma.

Immensely popular with expats living in the area, as well as those who cross town for a brunch fix, Alma is worth locating. Despite the small size and the popularity, customers are never rushed while they chat over a third refill coffee. After all, it takes a while to make room for a second helping of dessert!

Contact details
42A Street 454 (corner with Street 123), Phnom Penh
T: (092) 424 903
http://www.facebook.com/almacambodia
Open: Wed-Mon, 07:00 to 14:00
About the author
Abigail has been stoned by villagers in India, become an honorary Kenyan tribeswoman, sweet talked border guards and had close encounters with black mambas. Her motto is: “Live to tell the tale.”

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Alma Cafe
42A Street 454 (corner with Street 123), Phnom Penh
T: (092) 424 903

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