Monthly Archives: January 2012

Lunch at T-Bone Steakhouse

Bacon Cheeseburger at T-Bone Steakhouse

Bacon Cheeseburger at T-Bone Steakhouse

I had a chance to meet up with a friend for lunch  at T-Bone Steakhouse which located on the corner of Streets 360 and Monivong. I’ve been there for a couple of occasions and had a great steak both times but in all honesty, I haven’t been too impressed with the place. Then about a couple months go, I ran into Dene from SEA Globe at a party and told me to check out their burger.

I am impressed now.

The decor in the place is very clean in a sedate, clinical kind of way. After ordering drinks, we were given a bread basket with a watery marinara dipping sauce. It was pretty tasty but I wished it had a bit more body to it.

The bread basket

The bread basket

We ordered a Bacon Cheeseburger ($7.00) and their daily lunch time special ($9.90). We got the burger cooked medium rare but opted against ordering the burger with 2 patties which will run you an extra $2. It also comes with a nice side salad to start.

The daily special includes their salad bar and a changing meat dish. Today’s was grilled beef skewers with a BBQ sauce. The salad bar is pretty decent with about 4 salads to choose from. I had a great caesar salad and a tomato salad that had a fantastic basil balsamic vinagrette dressing that was great to dip the bread into.

A little salad before the main course

A little salad before the main course

After 15 minutes or so, we got our main dishes. Since we were sharing the meal, we cut the burger in half and took a look.

Mmmmm... medium rare......

Mmmmm... medium rare......

Cooked to a bit above medium rare, it was the best burger patty I have had in Cambodia, hands down. It was beefy, juicy, seasoned perfectly and had the perfect meat to bun ratio that I like in my burgers. The menu didn’t advertise the size of it, but I estimate the patty to be a 1/3 pounder. It had the typical lettuce, onion and tomato garnish along with a nice slice of american cheese and a rather chewy slice of bacon on top. The fries were nice and crispy and the sauce that came with it was a ketchup/mayonnaise mix that went great on the burger. The only complaint I would have is that I wished the bacon was a bit crispier (for texture) and the bun was a bit sweet.

The beef skewers

The beef skewers

The beef skewers were huge! I tried to pick one up just using one hand and the skewer almost snapped in two from the weight of it. The BBQ sauce was a nice tangy concoction and was a great dipping sauce for the beef. The beef was cooked medium which is just a bit more than I would have liked it but it still managed to stay juicy inside. Also, I kinda wished I had the option to choose the temperature of the meat.
All in all, T-Bone delivers the goods (meat!!!) as a steakhouse does. Though it is a bit expensive, the burger is a winner and is definitely worth a return trip for.

– Vinh

Here is a little take of the place from my lunch buddy:

While it seems counter intuitive to order a burger at a steakhouse, I was game for the opportunity.  Vinh and I met at T-Bone for lunch to try out a burger and the lunch special.  We ordered the bacon cheeseburger and the beef kabobs for lunch.

The burger was cooked well (we ordered it medium).  It was a good sized piece of meat and it came with onions, lettuce, and tomatoes.  It tasted great and I ate it quickly.  The bun wasn’t as spongy as I would have liked and it fell apart a little when we cut it in half, but overall the burger was very tasty.  Unfortunately it did not come with many condiments, but since it tasted good on it’s own, the burger did not need much accompaniment.  The burger was served with fries and was preceded by a small salad.  Definitely worth ordering again.

The beef kebab as the lunch special was also really good.  There were three chunks of beef interspersed with grilled vegetables on each skewer.  The kebab was also served with fries and it came with a small bowl of barbecue sauce.  The meat was cooked very well and the sauce added a nice touch.

Between the two, I think I’d be more likely to order the kebab first, but the burger was very nice.  Definitely worth coming back to T-Bone again, not sure why I haven’t for so long.

– Prateek

While I wasn’t able to make it for the lunch with Vinh, I did get a chance to try the T-Bone burger recently and I felt to compelled to throw my 2-cents in when the ‘best burger patty in Cambodia’ title was throw out. The T-Bone burger was fine but I wouldn’t call it the best in Phnom Penh let alone Cambodia. I would list Alley Cat, Garage and Mike’s ahead of T-Bone (yes, I’ve tried Freebird).  And I still haven’t had a burger in Phnom Penh that can hold a candle to the american burger at Cafe De La Paix in Siem Reap.

– Bryse

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Lunch

Botanico

Set of appetizers at Botanico

Set of appetizers at Botanico

We were lucky enough to be part of a select few to the soft launch of Botanico, a new gastrobar in Phnom Penh that is co-run by the crew that brought us Tepui.

Entrance of Botanico

Entrance of Botanico

An unassuming double door with a metal sign is the only indication of the gastrobar within. Quite a departure from the dark wood and sophisticated dining experience of Tepui, Botanico is set in a lush garden setting with potted plants, chirping birds and a very cute but rowdy kitten.

Botanico gastropub setting

Botanico gastropub setting

There was a limited menu offered but I was happy to see that a burger that we sampled in a previous post was on the menu! The menu features tapas and lighter bites along with a breakfast menu!

The italiano beef burger

The italiano beef burger

We sampled a few items from the menu including coconut milk and lemongrass skewered shrimp, pork wontons with a mango chutney, red snapper ceviche and the awesomely awesome italiano beef burger.

Gisella presents the italiano beef burger

Gisella presents the italiano beef burger

It is set to open this week and if you are in the neighborhood, pop in and check it out!

Botanico
Open 7 Days 8:00am – 9:30pm
House #9b, Street 29 (near Sihanouk Blvd. and street 294).

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Spring Vale

Spring Vale

Spring Vale

Tucked around the corner from Russian Market, I had heard of Spring Vale from a couple of friends that live around the corner. After reading Lina’s review of the place, we knew that this had to be the next place to try out.

We were greeted by one of the owners upon walking in and were offered a table outside. Not one to turn down al fresco dining in December, we grabbed the nearest table and were given menus. It’s one of those laminated jobs which doesn’t mess around. All the dishes range from $3 – $6 which is very reasonable for it’s proximity to Russian Market.

Okonomiyaki at Spring Vale

Okonomiyaki at Spring Vale

The Okonimyaki was very tasty and didn’t have an excessive amount of the okonomiyaki sauce which can sometimes overpower the rest of the ingredients.

The gyoza were quite ordinary but what I really loved (and was probably the least appealing looking) was the chicken and egg on steamed rice, otherwise known as oyakodon (thanks Nathan!). I could imagine this meal being something your mother served to you after you scraped your leg while playing in the street. The egg was runny enough to imbue it’s taste onto the rice and was seasoned perfectly.

Fried Tofu

Fried Tofu

The fried tofu was a also a hit for me. The tofu had a nice crisp crust to it and had a great melt in your mouth texture once you bit into it.

The fried pork came with rice and a pretty good side of coleslaw. I thought the pork was a bit overfried and needed the sauce to keep the dish from being too dry. I am generally a fan of anything fried and pork but this one kinda fell flat for me. Maybe I dug the chicken a bit too much.

As Lina put in her blog post and I mentioned before, Spring Vale isn’t a fancy shmancy restaurant serving avante-garde fare. It serves items you would probably find in a home or casual eatery. And sometimes that’s all you need.

3 out of 5 nyamies.

Vinh

Gyoza

Gyoza

Whenever dumplings are on the menu at a restaurant we order some and use them as a yard stick for the food. Unfortunately, the gyoza at Spring Vale was disappointing. Not that they were bad, we have definitely had way worse chinese style dumplings close to Central Market, but gyoza is usually really great so it was surprising when these were a miss.

Chicken and eggs on steamed rice

Chicken and eggs on steamed rice

Most of the other items were pretty nice. I could see having the chicken and eggs on steamed rice for breakfast. Nothing special, just a solid bowl of good food.

The okonimyaki was also really tasty. It is served fully cooked and it’s always more fun to see it fried on a table in front of you (while the cook is flipping pieces of food into your mouth Benihana style).

Pork cutlets

Tonkatsu - Pork cutlets

A friend had just been talking about homemade tonkatsu so I was really excited to order some when I saw it on the menu. The breading and sauce was pretty fine but the breading to pork ratio was too far in the breads favor. Not much meat in those things.

The folks serving the food were very nice and none of the plates we tried were bad. If I lived close or am in the neighborhood, I would probably check out Spring Vale again but I’m not going to drive down just for this place.

2.5 out of 5 nyamies.

Bryse

Spring Vale
House 27, Street 450,
Toul Tom Pong I, 27 450,
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

089343597

Leave a comment

Filed under Japanese

Central Market makeover

Central Market or Psar Thmei

Central Market or Psar Thmei

Constructed in 1937, Central Market or known as Psar Thmei is one of the must-see attractions of Phnom Penh with it’s iconic art-deco dome. Originally the market consisted of the dome and 4 wings that jutted out from it, over the years the space in between the wings were filled with vendors plying their wares.

Three Central Market images

Before, during and after renovation

In 2009, the French Development Agency gave it a badly needed 4 million dollar facelift where the tin roof stalls in between the wings were torn out and replaced with more permanent structures. One huge improvement to the market was the new food stalls located on the west side of the market. I generally don’t like eating in markets in Phnom Penh as they tend to be a bit dark and dingy for my sensibilities but after experiencing the stalls at Central Market, I think I could make one exception. Considering how busy the market was, I think the renovations were a complete success.

The food stalls inside Central Market

Not a tissue in sight on the floor

The variety of food at the market is staggering, catering to both locals and tourists. Bryse and I first started our journey at a snack stall where we ordered some great fried spring rolls stuffed with tarot (1,000 Riel each) and deep fried vegetables covered with fish paste (4,000 Riel for a set).

Vegetables battered in fish paste

Vegetables battered in fish paste

By that time, we had some company in the form of Bryse’s family that came on over to visit. Bryse’s brothers are foodies, so they were definitely into checking out the local fare. The problem was finding a table large enough to sit the 6 of us!

Luckily, we found one and all it cost was ordering a couple of dishes from the stall that the table belonged to. One of the best things about eating at the markets in Cambodia is that you can pretty much order from any stall in the area and it will be delivered to where you are sitting. Just make sure to order something from the stall that you are sitting in.

Cafeteria style eats at Central Market

Cafeteria style eats at Central Market

We sat at a cafeteria style food stall and ordered fried tofu stuffed with minced pork in a tomato sauce (5,000 Riel) and braised pork belly and bamboo shoot in a coconut caramel sauce (5,000 Riel). This is fare I was very familiar with as my grandmother used to make me these dishes when I was a kid. More on this later.

Tofu just like grandma used to make

Tofu just like grandma used to make

The tofu was pretty amazing but the pork dish was overpowered by the bamboo shoots which I really dislike. During the ordering, I started listening to the stall owners around and realized that most of the stall owners were speaking in Vietnamese which kinda explained the two dishes I had just ordered.

After everyone got their orders, we dug in. A couple of noodle soups, with chicken and beef, some stir-fried noodles and some banh hoi served with pork sausages rounded out the orders. None of the dishes cost more than 8,000 Riel and everyone had a great time sampling some Khmer dishes.

After we finished, I asked Keith (Bryse’s younger brother) if he wanted to try a Khmer dessert. He was definitely game so we walked over to the jelly stand and had a bit of fun ordering some of the slurpy stuff.

Khmer jelly desserts

Khmer jelly desserts

Oodles and oodles of tapioca awaited us while we pointed to what we wanted in our dessert bowls. A little bit of simple syrup, coconut milk and shaved ice completed the concoction (We both shied away from the sweetened condensed milk). I assume he liked it as he finished the whole bowl! I certainly did.

Psar Thmei means New Market in Khmer. It’s strange that the name has stuck with a building that was built over 70 years ago but with the new renovations, it has certainly breathed in new life in the iconic building.

Some more photos from the day:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

1 Comment

Filed under Cambodian, Street Food, Uncategorized