Photo: Wat Lanka, Phnom Penh.

The Tiger's Eye

World class

49 Sothearos Blvd, Phnom Penh
T: (017) 876 382 
[email protected]
http://thetigerseye.asia/

The Tiger's Eye

The Tiger’s Eye offers a short but very sweet modern international menu focused on local flavours and served in sleek, intimate surrounds. Opened late 2015, The Tiger’s Eye is South African chef’s Timothy Bruyns’ second offering in Phnom Penh. He closed the Uncommon Tiger in 2015 due to climbing rents.

The city goes by.

The city goes by.

The restaurant is a riff on what has practically become a genre of its own across Southeast Asia: expatriate chef gets excited about local flavours and combines them in innovative ways using classical and cutting-edge techniques. The results are usually delicious — think Locavore in Bali’s Ubud — and The Tiger’s Eye delivers just as exquisitely.

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Not fussy, and it works.

The setting, just near The White Building, is a reminder of the economic divide in Phnom Penh. While you can tuck into a world-class meal here, diagonally across the road you’ll find an iconic building overcrowded with families lucky to earn in a month what you’ll pay here for a three-course meal. It’s a juxtaposition you’ll see right across Southeast Asia. (A further aside: Do a Khmer Architecture Tour to meet and help the archivists behind a project documenting the lives of those who live in the White Building.)

The interior of Tiger’s Eye is understatedly stylish. We liked it. Sleek wooden, cloth-free tables and chairs go with a black banquette and coloured cushions set against a wall, while wooden floors and wood-panelled walls create a comforting, warm space. Lamps of one style, several shapes hang evenly over an open bar at the restaurant’s back end. It’s a simple, rectangular room. The focus is on the food.

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The tuna.

We love that the menu is so short and sweet: eight starters, a half dozen mains, three desserts. No agonising. The menu changes weekly, but when we went, the starters ($7-10) included a smoked duck breast and liver parfait with beetroot and cashew, and a fresh mozzarella from Siem Reap. We went for the raw and cured tuna with a somtam dressing, banana heart and hot basil — and we realised we had had a very similar incarnation a year earlier at the Uncommon Tiger. The fish was tender, the banana heart crunchy (and looking a little water buffalo like, all tapering curves), the basil a burst of flavour. It was a generous serving, too.

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God, sorry. Couldn’t wait.

That person who always orders the expensive beef isn’t usually us, but this time it was, because they were short ribs, and came with cauliflower, peas and soy ($18). Prettily arranged, beautifully textured — soft meat, crisp cauliflower, soft peas, velvet gravy — it was worth the splurge. If you like fish, then you’ll have the marinated seabass curry wrapped in banana leaf with courgette and cumin ($12). Like pork? Then it’s sous vide and pan-roasted pork with red curry and aubergine ($16). Otherwise there are single options for each of pasta, duck and lentils (or other dishes, depending on what’s at the market, of course).

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Just put it all on a spoon, and in your mouth.

Dessert is again focused on local flavours: a chocolate mousse with mango and passionfruit, roasted pineapple with peanut pesto and coconut, and coconut panacotta with cashews and rambutan ($6.00-7.50). We tried the mousse and it was a heavenly mix, again with real attention to texture: soft mousse with various gels set aside crunchy meringue and chocolate “dirt”. It was the ideal dessert for someone who wants to try something they wouldn’t in a million years have the patience to make at home themselves.

A five-course tasting menu is available for $55, or $80 with paired wines. This price is on par with some of Southeast Asia’s best restaurants and the preparation here is certainly on par with them too. Super-special occasion? We’d do it. Service is professional and friendly, with the staff knowing just the right note to strike with patrons.

Breakfast is also offered, till 11:00am weekdays and 14:00 weekends. We can see the space kind of working during mornings with the large French-style windows allowing ample light in. Again offerings are short and sweet: bread with preserves, scrambled eggs with house-cured bacon and tomato or soft-boiled with mushroom, avocado, and foccacia. We like the sound of the beef short ribs with egg noodles, sweet chilli and fried egg. Or go for the muesli with yoghurt, fruit and honey ($4.50-$8).


Our rating:

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The Tiger's Eye
49 Sothearos Blvd, Phnom Penh
Mon-Sat 07:30-22:30
T: (017) 876 382 
[email protected]
http://thetigerseye.asia/

Location map for The Tiger's Eye