A new place for a dim sum fix

On the weekend I tried out the dim sum at the newly opened Yi Sang restaurant at Almond Hotel, another Luu Meng venture (the guy behind Malis, Topaz, Cafe Sentiment and more). Compared to the city’s only other dim sum restaurant (that I know of, and not counting the InterCon) – Sam Doo – the restaurant looked more like a ‘real’ dim sum place yet sadly, minus the trolleys.

The dishes were really cheap (between US$2 and US$3 a basket) and the barbeque pork buns and prawn dumplings definitely hit the spot. Unfortunately though a few things we tried to order (like the barbeque pork in rice noodle rolls) were greeted with the dreaded ‘no have’. We also ordered some sesame balls which strangely didn’t appear though the waitress kept saying they were five minutes away. In the end we just cancelled them.

With the bill for seven of us working out at less than US$6 a head for a dim sum feast and copious amounts of Chinese green tea in a clean, spanking new setting, it now makes me question why we spend so much more in some of Phnom Penh’s grottier old Chinese diners!

Image via Almond H0tel

Siem Reap’s Hotel de la Paix

Our room – complete with bed for baby

This was all ours – so relaxing!

Earlier in the week we paid a flying visit to Siem Reap and were fortunate enough to stay at the ultra chic Hotel de la Paix. What can I say but…wow! And no, they’re not paying me to say this!

Designed by the brains behind Bangkok’s Bed Supperclub, the hotel combines art deco style with Khmer touches, creating a unique and highly stylish look and feel. Our room was a two-level loft with a spiral staircase leading up to two massage tables for in-room spa treatments, with doors leading out to a private terrace complete with outdoor bathtub. The room itself had a rainforrest shower, iPod and speakers, WiFi, the most comfortable pillows ever and a spacious lounge area.

Beyond the room was an amazing pool with art-deco inspired columns and so many nooks and crannies to swim around and into. It was surrounded by lush tropical foliage like frangipani trees and traveller’s palms, with loungey day beds to chill out on. So blissful, even if our baby had to sit in a stroller poolside while we had a quick swim (things aren’t as simple as they once were!).

We also decided to finally dine at Meric, the hotel’s chic restaurant, after hearing good things about it for ages but for some reason never quite making it. It was worth the wait. While there is a set menu of innovative takes on Khmer food, we opted for the gourmet European menu and indulged in spice crusted beef tenderloin and sea scallops with cauliflower puree and citrus and licorice sauces. For dessert we shared a flourless chocolate cake with a runny centre (delicious) and bitter chocolate sorbet.The lighting, the decor and the atmosphere created a sophisticated vibe, and the food was excellent. Meric is a true culinary gem in Siem Reap and I highly recommend it!