Phnom Penh by night: legendary Elephant Bar leads to other delights…
By Philip Sinsheimer
Photo. Cesare Zucca
The team of the Raffles Siem Reap, engaged us to pay a visit to a real jewel., located in their sister property in Phnom Penh, I am talking of the historic Elephant Bar,
a place that exudes the charm of old school luxury. Not only do the walls spoke of history but, the service evokes a tempo of another time, a pace where the demands of productivity are not part of the game. Not to say we waited a long time for our cocktails, we waited just the right time for it to be made to perfection!
The signature cocktail is the Femme Fatale,
created for Jacqueline Kennedy during her 1967 visit in Cambodia.
The bar boasts a selection of 54 hand-picked gins and among the most recent offerings you can pair your libation with a spoonful of Giaveri caviar from Italy for a very friendly $5.
We were hosted by the young French F&B manager of this legendary institution,
We hit it off immediately and Thomas offered to meet with me the next night for a night in town. What a treat! We met with his charming Cambodian wife and I got to experience the best true khmer cuisine at their favorite restaurant, Kravanh, located at 112 Samdach Sothearos Blvd,
Simple, yet lovely decor with soft lighting (pic below), great service, nice wines and yes, a real gastronomic adventure at an affordable price. The “phlear trey” traditional marinated raw fish salad tossed with a variety of fresh herbs was incredible, definitely one of the best dish of my entire stay in Cambodia.
The evening ended in a fun and lively bar, Chez Flo, located at 308 St 308, Phnom Penh, in the trendy Bassac lane area. Cocktails were impeccably executed by a young and hip bartender who really knew his stuff. Thomas had him create on the spot a cocktail combining ingredients I loved: bourbon, fresh lime and ginger juice, simple sugar and mint leaves. Shaken with egg white and served on the rocks with a splash of angustura bitters. What a treat! Thomas coined the name Tsin-Tsin for the cocktail in a heartbeat, combining the first letter of his first first name and the first 3 letters of my last name for an inviting chin-chin ring to it. It is now on the menu of the Elephant Bar, sealing in history the final touch of a night made of whimsy, fun and good taste.
Info for The Elephant Bar at Ruffles Hotel Le Royal in Phnom Penh at