Photo: Wat Lanka, Phnom Penh.

Khema

The finest French

224 Street 51 (inside the Arunreas hotel), Phnom Penh
T: (016) 611 555 
[email protected]
http://www.khemashop.com

Khema

Unabashed cheeses, forthright saucisses, rich and rugged pates and terrines, luxurious cakes, earthy breads, buttery patissierie and those delicious if, in fairness slightly over the top, macarons the French do so well — if these are the things that make your knees go weak, then prepare to crumble at Khema, a francophile’s refuge par excellence.

Resistance is futile.

Resistance may well be futile.

A little bit upscale, though not too much, this tidy little gourmet cafe and deli by day/wine and oyster bar by night, is tucked into the back of the white pile Arunreas Hotel on Street 51. It’s a little bit out of the way, but worth the trip if the honest flavours of French food turn you on. The bright cabinets display a gorgeous selection of the best of France, much of it prepared in the large, open kitchens at the back, the rest directly imported.

We're pretty sure that things these colours shouldn't taste good, but they do.

We’re pretty sure that food these colours shouldn’t taste good, but they do.

Beautifully attired staff glide efficiently and courteously about their business, serving up all of the above in various forms — sandwiches, platters, wickedly divine hot plates of raclette that you can scoop up with freshly baked baguette — as well as a la carte menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The breakfast eggs are a particular point of pride here, and the Florentine, rather extravagantly served with smoked salmon, hit all the right notes (though we took the salmon out). At $6, it’s probably one of the best value in town too.

We couldn't not.

We couldn’t not.

The a la carte menus are a little pricier, with braised lamb ravioli ($10), crayfish bisque ($9), or a French onion soup ($9) among the starters, and mains ranging from $10 for a poached fish mousse with Nantau sauce all the way up to $39 for chicken stuffed with wild mushrooms and foie gras, stopping off on the way with a $21 honey braised lamb shank with spring vegetables, and plenty more that Elizabeth David would adore.

The kitchen is bigger than the cafe dining area -- a ratio we can't help but approve of.

The kitchens are bigger than the cafe dining area — a ratio we can’t help but approve of.

In the evenings, the lights dim (a little), and the mood changes to something more like an intimate dining hideaway. The transformation integrates an oyster bar, and they also host cheese and wine evenings on Thursdays for just $20 plus tax. Booking is recommended.


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Khema
224 Street 51 (inside the Arunreas hotel), Phnom Penh
T: (016) 611 555 
[email protected]
http://www.khemashop.com

Location map for Khema