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Cuisine Wat Damnak · Fine Dining in Phnom Penh · Authentic Cambodian with French Touch

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Buddy Irene who is resident in Phnom Penh and is well plugged in in the local F & B scene, brought me to Cuisine Wat Damnak. Opened less than a year ago, Irene said Damnak is a must for any visitor interested in the fine cuisine of Phnom Penh. After last night's amazing dinner at 
Cuisine Wat Damnak Phnom Penh, I couldn't agree more.

Restaurant name: Cuisine Wat Damnak Phnom Penh


Address: 29 Samdech Mongkol Lem Street (228), Phnom Penh


Tel: 09 935 8520


Hours: 11:30am - 2:30pm | 6:30pm - 11:00pm (Sun off)



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Cuisine Wat Damnak is located in a beautiful, standalone property nestled in a peaceful nook conveniently in the heart of bustling Phnom Penh.

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The restaurant has two levels and a garden. Decor is simple yet warm, comfortable, and welcoming with a touch of understated elegance. The tables are well spaced out, so we enjoyed our own space even when dining in a common area. 
Cuisine Wat Damnak has a private dining room which can host 10 persons. The restaurant's total seating capacity is about 60 pax.

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Diners in the garden have a ring side seat of the action in the kitchen but last night we were indoors as it was raining. We are well in the rainy season here in Phnom Penh ☔

Cuisine Wat Damnak Phnom Penh's sister restaurant in Siem Reap was the first Cambodian restaurant to grace Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list (in 2015).


Cuisine Wat Damnak Phnom Penh serves Cambodian cuisine with French touches in preparation and cooking techniques as well as in plating and presentation. The menu is created by French chef co-owner Joannès Rivière, supported by head chef Sotheareak and team. Chef Joannès Rivière who first came to Cambodia in 2003 to teach in a culinary school, is a pioneer in emerging fine Cambodian cuisine and in putting it on the world map. 

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Cuisine Wat Damnak's ingredients are locally sourced, which is at the heart of Cambodian cuisine. Head chef 
Sotheareak personally goes to Phnom Penh's Central Market in the morning to hand pick his ingredients for the day.

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Chef Sotheareak graciously showed me around Central Market while he did his marketing 🙏 

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I had the Tasting Menu which started off with a toasted baguette slathered with 
basil oil and cashew nut mayonnaise dressed with julienned green mango, water hyacinth, free range egg and a dusting of pounded smoked fish.

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Next, minced chicken saraman salad with peanut (which reminded me a bit of satay sauce in terms of taste profile), pumpkin purée, coconut cream and deep-fried shallot.

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Seared beef tongue with sapodilla slices topped with wild ginger leaves, chambok seeds, herbs, 
crispy jerky and served with split coconut emulsion.

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Tender spongy chewy prawn and calamari pancake in num pao style with julienned yam bean, crunchy green papaya pickle and spicy tomalley emulsion.

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Seared sanday fish, sour clear curry with water mimosa, green tamarind, rice paddy herbs and sesbania flowers.

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Stir fried quail breast and confit leg, Angkor mushrooms, homemade oyster sauce, local coriander and lotus roots.

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Caramelised honey and pepper bread, rum braised pineapple, passionfruit, pineapple and fresh turmeric sorbet.

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Steamed sesame praliné biscuit, chocolate light ganache, and sesame tuile dressed with coffee crème anglaise.

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From right, Cuisine Wat Damnak co-owner Nguon Venchhay, head chef Sotheareak, and Irene. As you can see from my bugling tummy, we were served a lot of food for a nett price of USD45 for the tasting menu. 

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Chili and tamarind glazed marinated kuy teav salad,
mango, cucumber, bean sprouts, herbs and peanuts from the plant based menu

We enjoyed the innovative dishes created by chef Joannès and chef Sotheareak.
 Dressed in French presentation and plating, the flavours and soul remained Cambodian as ingredients are firmly grounded in produce from the land, Mekong River, Tonle Sap lake and shores of Cambodia. Cuisine Wat Damnak Phnom Penh has many of the hallmarks of the finest dining establishments (even though co-owner Nguon Venchhay modestly maintained that it is a casual restaurant.)

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I kept saying, if you come to Phnom Penh and didn't come for a meal at 
Cuisine Wat Damnak, you missed out. However, when you come, some dishes would be different from what we had tonight as at Cuisine Wat Damnak new creations are a constant for chefs Joannès, Sotheareak and team.



Written by Tony Boey on 12 July 2022

2 comments:

  1. What’s great discover and write up

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  2. what a great meat! and affordable too.

    ReplyDelete

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