Cambodia’s most storied hotel wrote yet another chapter last month when it unveiled its new restaurant following a landmark refurbishment. Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor 1932 restaurant was launched on 22 November 2019 at an invite-only dinner for 50 guests who were treated to a menu presenting contemporary Khmer cuisine.
Located on the ground floor of the hotel’s Heritage Wing next to the Conservatory and behind the celebrated Elephant Bar, 1932 is the successor to the previous Restaurant Le Grand, which had stood since the hotel’s inception. 1932 inherits the honour of being one of only two establishments in the country that is permitted to serve Royal Khmer Cuisine, the other being its sister Raffles Hotel Le Royal in Phnom Penh. These recipes were passed on by royal decree to the hotels from the King’s own kitchen.
The menu brings together an array of textures and tantalizing treats, such as mango and prawn salad, spicy and sour lobster consommé, grilled lamb chops in ginger sauce, red chicken curry in coconut, and for dessert, pumpkin custard.
Raffles Grand Hotel d’ Angkor’s Executive Chef Angela Brown, originally from Brisbane, Australia, earned her chef stripes in a number of Sofitel kitchens around the world including London and Bangkok. Having lived in Siem Reap for nearly three years, Brown has a deep appreciation for local culinary techniques.
“Khmer cuisine is a combination of refined, simple, delicate flavours,” she said. “The dishes are much subtler than, say, Thai recipes. Khmer flavours pop out, but don’t knock you over.” Chef Angela aims to craft traditional Khmer recipes with a modern approach. “Not fusion, but dishes that can be adapted to the Western palate,” she added.
One of her new signature dishes is the melt-in-your-mouth Beef Cheek, served with a local aromatic herb known as ma-om and quail egg curry. Other highlights include the Chateaubriand-style lok lak, a Wagyu beef striploin with grape puree.
A selection of intriguing condiments accompanies each meal, among them the chef’s own creation, duka, a grainy mix of cashew nut, sesame, coriander seed and salt. A local seed called chombok – similar to almond – pervades the rye bread, while la-voch is a Khmer herb and wheat chapati.
Overseen by 1932’s wine expert Ms. Sum Socheata, guests can look forward to wine pairings with every dish in each of the five-course Royal Khmer meal. Raffles achieved its fame as home to the Singapore Sling, and keeping to tradition, a Cambodian version, the Grand Hotel d’Angkor Sling with a twist of galangal and ginger, is available as an aperitif.
“The refurbishment of the restaurant has brought it up to date with freshness and light, while retaining the sense of travelling back in time,” said Hotel Manager Vincent Gernigon. “The new look of the restaurant perfectly complements the exciting menus being created by Chef Angela, and adds a new dimension to Khmer cuisine.”
Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor reopened on October 1, 2019, following six months of restoration works. Designed in the late 1920s by architect Ernest Hébrard in French colonial style, the hotel’s interior combines Khmer art and furnishings with Art Deco influences. Renowned for its wrought-iron and timber elevator, ‘The Grand’ served as an early base for archaeologists, explorers and visitors to the rediscovered Kingdom of Angkor. Taken over in 1997 by Fairmont Raffles Hotels International (FRHI) by invitation of Cambodia’s His Majesty King Sihanouk, the hotel is now part of Accor following the group’s acquisition of FRHI in July 2016.
For reservations or enquiries to Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor, call +855 23 982 598 or email [email protected]. Rooms at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor start from 230USD per night.