Popular and long running
56 Sihanouk Boulevard
T: (023) 987 420
Showing plenty of foresight, Java Cafe and Gallery has been open since 2000, well ahead of the curve which has seen a new coffee shop open almost every week in Phnom Penh recently. Java is centrally located just two minutes’ walk from the Independence Monument, with views over Sihanouk Boulevard park. We love the mid-price tasty beverages and food, the competent service and the different seating areas which double as exhibition spaces.
Java is frequented by a mixture of middle-class Khmers, creative types, tourists and freelancers tapping away on laptops. You may have to navigate some of the clientele’s parked SUVs to access the downstairs air-con lounge, popular for its minimalist decor, sofa seating and WiFi. Bakery products are arranged temptingly on racks designed for impulse purchases.
Java has clearly given thought to its different customers — you’ll find a children’s playroom and baby-changing facilities by the community noticeboard. The first floor space is accessed by a staircase around the side, leading to an airy fan-cooled terrace overlooking the park. Further cushioned chairs and tables are laid out in the recently renovated wooden floored interior. It’s not difficult to see why this is a favourite place for long Sunday breakfasts, working lunches and extended coffee breaks.
The coffee menu offers a good selection, and we applaud the inclusion of locally grown Mondulkiri coffee — sadly lacking from many of the newer coffee shops which only use imported beans. The frozen blends and smoothies seem designed to make you feel clean and healthy inside. Aside from the baked on-site cookies, breads and pastries, there’s a choice of healthy salads, generous sandwiches, quiche of the day, burgers, soup and pasta, with monthly specials created by staff members.
A stalwart of the Phnom Penh cultural scene, Java Cafe serves up art alongside the caffeine, with rolling exhibitions featuring Khmer artists and international guests. The shows are facilitated by JavaArts, a cultural enterprise supported by the cafe’s sales. Look out for the regular evening events, including exhibition openings, poetry readings and musical performances.
By Abigail Gilbert
Last updated on 5th November, 2013.