There is news over the Siem Reap’s epicurean grapevine: dreamy plates of tangy prawns wrapped with mango, grilled lamb chops glazed with the glistening sauce of ginger, and custards made from pumpkin flan, curdled in the right amount of skill and timing as indicated by the heritage recipe of Khmer.
It is no less than the king’s menu—what used to be a secret within the palace’s noble kitchen now lands quaintly on the tables of ‘1932’, a sleek dining establishment tucked in the heart of the Grand DameRaffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor (who, in a celebratory fashion, flings its doors open after a long hiatus and gifts with a much-anticipated gastronomical treat). The restaurant’s name, 1932, represents Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor’s birth year, an appropriate era to reflect upon and regale in Khmer cuisine.
Fit for the modern kings It is the quest for balancing authenticity and playfulness, contemporary and heritage. Chef Angela Brown delectably weaves her magic by refining the recipes with thoughts of its original palette, only served in a new, more visually appetizing style, as seen on what-used-to-be-basic spring roll (an indulgent feast of pickled vegetables and roasted peanuts, then drizzled with chilli sauce). Or the deliriously captivating prawns, thrown in with avocadoes, cashews and lime paste. The beautiful colours, the savoury crunch, the smoothness of the sauce—all of them bring together the honest Khmer flavours, only with aesthetically charming plates. Of course, a meal is not complete without wine, and the five course Royal Khmer meal is accompanied by the perfect pairings chosen by wine expert Sum Socheata.
1932 sits proudly on the ground floor of the Heritage Wing, a neighbour to the well-loved Conservatory and the sought-after Elephant Room. It is worth noting that the venue was previously home to Restaurant Le Grand.1932 inherits the honour of being one of only two establishments in the country that is permitted to serve Royal Khmer Cuisine. ◼
© This article was first published online in Jan 2020 – World Travel Magazine.