Meeting an important business associate over lunch? Then one of the things you want to get right is the setting. With a booming restaurant scene, which is becoming more sophisticated and varied by the day, choosing the right establishment for your meal can be taxing.
Fortunately, an increasing number of venues are differentiating themselves by catering for these occasions with some terrific deals on business set lunches. B2B Cambodia takes you on a tour of the best (please note, prices quoted are not inclusive of VAT):
Topaz (#162, Norodom Blvd)
Set lunches – 11:30am-2pm, Monday to Saturday: $25
Founded by French entrepreneur and hospitality expert Arnaud Darc, Topaz has been offering the highest standard of service and dining in Cambodia for 20 years. The restaurant specialises in French haute cuisine, endowing all their sumptuous creations with a unique touch. Their team of experienced chefs have put together an opulent menu that uses the finest ingredients sourced from around the world, Europe in particular.
The chic decor exudes taste, with simple but classic furnishings and stunning pieces of art (including two large replicas of Gustav Klimt paintings. The soulful renditions of popular classics and jazz lounge instrumentals adds to the relaxed and refined atmosphere. Topaz also boasts an exceptional wine cellar, as well as a selection of imported cigars.
Business set lunches have been running for around a year at Topaz. They now include access to the salad bar (which also has a small selection of cheese and cold cut meats), a choice of one starter, one main, one dessert, one glass of house wine, and one tea or coffee. The menu changes every month, but the mains list always includes a Carvery of the Day meat option and a fish option.
Khéma (#163, St. 51)
Set lunches – 11am-2pm, Monday to Friday: $15
With a reputation for finesse and elegance, French cuisine is always a safe bet for a corporate encounter. Another excellent purveyor of French food in the capital is Khéma. Conveniently located on the ground floor of Arunreas Hotel with an entrance around the corner on St. 228, Khéma is an ideal option for breakfast, lunch or dinner, combining a fine dining restaurant, gourmet cafe, bakery, delicatessen and walk-in cellar all under one roof.
The ambience is refined yet relaxed, with classy but contemporary music, perfect to make all diners feel completely at ease and ready to talk business. Khéma will open three new branches this year – first in Post Office square, then in Siem Reap (over the river from Malis), and finally in Toul Kork.
Khéma’s business lunch offer consists of a starter, a main and a dessert – you can choose from a list of three options in each – for $15. For three dollars extra, you can add a glass of house wine. We had the chance to enjoy a superb beef carpaccio for appetizers, baked fish in parchment as the main, and a luscious pistachio cherry delight for dessert, but keep in mind that the menu changes every two weeks.
Rokku (#507, Sisowath Quay, corner Suramarit Blvd)
Set lunches – 11am-4pm, everyday: $8-11
Occupying an impressive five-story glass building, Rokku is not your run-of-the-mill Japanese restaurant. Rather, it is best described as an entertainment complex centered around a stylish, high-end Japanese fusion restaurant. Each floor has different entertainment options – from an open mic karaoke stage to live DJ’s and local bands – but the star of the show is undoubtedly their delicious dishes, a refreshing and innovative range that masterly combines Western and Japanese ingredients. Their Spicy Ahi Tuna Tacos is a creative and scrumptious dining option, while their signature sake cocktails are well put together.
A dozen mouthwatering lunch sets can be relished, including shrimp tempura udon set ($8), and soft shell crab soba and sashimi set ($11). Each one comes with a side of daikon radish, and a salad seasoned with roasted sesame dressing. Some sets include a bowl of rice and miso soup. We recommend the salmon teriyaki set ($9), a well-priced option for a very succulent steak of our favourite freshwater fish!
Malis (#136, Norodom Blvd)
Set lunches – 11am-2pm, Monday to Friday: $18
With 10 years of experience dishing out irresistible Khmer fare, Malis is one of the capital’s most prominent eateries. The brainchild of celebrity chef and Cambodian culinary ambassador Luu Meng, the restaurant should be on everyone’s list of things to do while in Phnom Penh. Dispensing “living” Cambodian cuisine, it drawing inspiration from traditional, everyday recipes, but adding a modern twist.
For example, their Amok makes use of some unconventional spices to reinvent the dish in spectacular fashion, leaving diners with a tantalising tingling sensation in the tongue. The atmosphere is elegant but tranquil – ideal for talking some serious shop – with tables arranged around a lush garden of jasmine flowers decorated with sober buddhist statues.
Malis has been serving business set lunches for about three months, which are as delicious as they are hearty, featuring a starter, soup, main course and dessert. Each course is usually a combination of smaller versions of dishes off the a la carte menu.
As a main course, we feasted on kampot crab fried rice with sautéed morning glory and some truly delectable fish amok. Dessert was a glorious triumvirate of decadence, composed of kamao thort – deep fried banana coated with rice (pictured above) – Malis mousse and coconut ice-cream.
Phnom Penh has plenty more to offer those in the lookout for a laudable business lunch experience. These are other venues that should be on your radar:
The Deli Bistro Gourmet (#13, St. 178)
Set lunches – 11am to 2pm, Monday to Friday: $12-16
This French eatery gives customers a choice of three different options for their business lunches: starter and entree or entree and dessert for $12; starter, entree and dessert for $14; or starter, entree and cafe gourmand (espresso and a selection of mignardises) for $16. The menu changes weekly.
Il Forno (#11, St. 302)
Set lunches – 12pm to 3pm, Monday to Friday: $6-9
One of the classiest Italian restaurants in town, Il Forno has competitive lunchtime specials. You can get a salad, panini sandwich, soft drink and coffee for $6, or a burger, soft drink and coffee for $9, among numerous other promotions.
Open Wine (#219, St. 19)
Set lunches – 11am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday: $16
The exquisite lunch specials at this French restaurant feature a combo of appetizer, entree and dessert, with a variety of dishes to choose from for each course. If your appetite doesn’t warrant a three-course meal, individual appetizers go for just $6, main courses for $9 and desserts for $4.
Fu Lu Zu (#26 Old August site, Sothearos Blvd)
Set lunches – 11:30am to 2:30pm, Monday to Friday: $15
An elegant Chinese restaurant specialising in contemporary Cantonese delicacies and dim sum, with private rooms for intimate discussions. The business set lets you savour more than 20 different types of dim sum.
La Residence (#22-24, St. 214)
Set lunches – 11:30am to 2pm, Monday to Friday: $17-32
Another high-end French haute cuisine establishment with great lunch sets. At La Residence, you can choose a starter, a main and a dessert from the lengthy express menu ($17), or from the gourmet menu ($32).
Kaviar (St. 55, corner St. 242)
Set lunches – 11:30am to 2pm, everyday: $15
For excellent Persian food at an unbeatable price, try Kaviar’s lunch sets, which include an appetizer, main course, dessert, soft drink and coffee or tea.
Van’s Restaurant (#5, St. 102)
Set lunches – 11:30am to 2:30pm, everyday: $15-20
Housed inside a beautifully renovated 120-year-old colonial building, Van’s serves modern and classic interpretations of French gastronomy. Pick a starter and main, or main and dessert, from the list of option for $15. Alternatively, go for all three courses for $20. Both come with complimentary soda, juice, beer, coffee or tea. Starters, mains and desserts can be ordered individually too at $5, $9 and $5 respectively.