We shortlisted Cuisine Wat Damnak having known that they uses local produce and specialise in Khmer cuisines. We were glad to have made reservations as we saw people being turned away at the restaurant as it was fully booked on the day of our dinner.
After starting our day at 4am in the morning and spending most of our time climbing the temples, we were simply exhausted and were looking forward to enjoying a splendid dinner. Having taken a quick shower after returning from watching sunset, the tuk-tuk driver from the hotel fetched us to Cuisine Wat Damnak for our dinner.
The restaurant was housed in traditional wooden Khmer house (somewhat similar to the houses on stilts we see in Malaysia). We were greeted warmly and shown our table in the dining room (which was air-conditioned) on the ground floor.
We started our dinner with house cocktails “Tamarind Collins” Tamarind syrup, vodka and a dash of lime juice, topped with soda water – which undoubtedly sounds like a fusion version of “Tom Collins” cocktail; and “Turmeric Ice Margarita” Turmeric infused triple sec with golden tequila and lime juice. Both are refreshing and appetizing.
There were 2 tasting menus available, one with 4 dishes and one with 5 dishes. We ordered different tasting menus so that we could try 9 different dishes =)
Amuse bouche was Chicken Liver Pate on Toast – topped with finely sliced onion.
Tasting Menu 1 comprises of:
- Siem Reap sausage and crispy eel salad with preserved cabbage – The preserved cabbage was slightly too sour for my liking (I generally don’t like preserved stuff).
- Prawn soup “out of the pot” with tamarind shoots and sesbania flowers – strong unami from the soup stock, this soup can be eaten with cambodian rice.
- Pork ribs and wild candle yam curry – soft pork ribs and the curry is not spicy at all.
- Fresh fruits soup with Mondulkiri green tea, lime sorbet and palm sugar meringue – Balanced dessert with sweet meringue and sour sorbet.
We also ordered 2 glasses of white wine: Grand Noir Chardonnay, 2010, France and Stony Bay Sauvignon Blac, 2011, New Zealand. They cost ard US$4 each, which is rather cheap!
Tasting Menu 2 comprises of:
- Frog meat and green jack fruit salad with prahok sauce – Prahok, a fermented fish paste, is a standard ingredient in Cambodian cuisine. I liked the cooked jack fruit which doesn’t have the pungent smell compared to ripe jack fruit. The frog meat was also tender and chewy.
- Seared scallops and turnip, preserved lime dressing and bean sprout – lime dressing brought out the freshness of the scallops.
- Quail sour soup in game style, wild sour leaf, mushroom and holy basil – Subtle sourness of this soup reminds me of non-spicy version of Tom Yum soup (w/o lemongrass), this soup can be eaten with cambodian rice.
- Black sticky rice porridge with Mekong langoustine and shiny cresson – In Singapore, most people would have eaten black glutinous rice as “Bubur Pulut Hitam”, a common dessert. Little did I realise that it can be taken as a main dish. The peanut toppings add complexity to the texture of this dish.
- Black sesame parfait with crispy fresh rice flake – Black sesame has a subtle fragrance and I liked the crispy rice flakes.
Overall I prefer the Tasting Menu 2 more.
We ended our dinner with a platter of “sour” fruits: Green Mango and Guava, with Coconut. And finally sweet treats of marshmallow and sugar candy when we asked for the bill.
A fantastic & unforgettable tasting menu dinner featuring Cambodian cuisines.
Some photos from sunset:
Other related posts:
- The Sugar Palm, Siem Reap
- AHA Restaurant & Wine Bar, Siem Reap
- The Conservatory, Siem Reap
- Chez Sophea and Matthiu, Siem Reap