Author Archives: j4p4n2

ToTo Ramen

Look at the lovely interior design...

Look at the lovely interior design…

Justin and I recently went and checked out the new ToTo addition: ToTo Ramen. Apparently ToTo is expanding their ice cream store to create a mini empire including ToTo Ramen and soon ToTo BBQ upstairs. Personally, I’m not a big ice cream person but people that do like ice cream really like ToTo so I’m was excited to try their ramen.

Seemingly full of lunching mums with kids in tow...

Seemingly full of lunching mums with kids in tow…

The shop was beautifully renovated and the ToTo Ramen logo looks like some weird Japanese manga storm of noodles which is pretty awesome. Having recently opened, the staff was a bit painfully under-trained but the manager was apologetic and promised things would improve.

Ramen dish #1 ???

Miso Ramen

I went for the go-to miso ramen and received this bowl. I had never really thought about it before seeing this bowl but ramen is typically served with a bit of presentation showing a mix of  meat, veggies, and noodles like when we went to Bekkan Ramen. This presentation was attempted at ToTo but not quite as appetizing. As for taste, the broth was not bad but the noodles were nothing exciting. And it’s not cheap. They did give a 10% discount because they had just opened but then I noticed they slapped a 10% service charge on the bill which is kind of a joke. Maybe things will improve as they get the staff trained but I’m in no rush to return.

1.5 out of 5 nyamies
– Bryse

Great signage and branding, shame about the food....

Great signage and branding, shame about the food….

I’ve never really been into the whole ramen thing, not out of any dislike or anything, just naivety and lack of opportunity. So seeing a new place open up, and bill itself as a specialist in it, I was definitely interested in giving it a shot. Given that ToTo has been successful thus far in their food-empire building, I assumed it would be a good introduction. They certainly have spared few expenses in the design and branding of the shop, inside and out it looks the part of a trendy lunch spot.

Volcano Meat Ramen... What's volcano meat? I don't know but there was hardly any in the bowl anyways...

Volcano Meat Ramen… What’s volcano meat? I don’t know but there was hardly any in the bowl anyways…

Their picture based menu depicts all sorts of good looking dishes but I opted for the Volcano Meat Ramen mainly based on the name. I like volcanoes, I like meat, what could go wrong? It wasn’t so much bad as just not terribly appealing. It was also pretty short on the promised volcano of protein. Indeed the only volcano-esque element was the oily, brown splodge floating at one side of the bowl, lingering evidence of the small portion of now submersed meat (pork? beef? chicken? who knows). The noodles were ok, nothing special.

To be fair, they had only been open for a little while when we went but it wasn’t much for a first impression. For $7.50 there are quite a few places around Phnom Penh where you can get a great bowl of noodles and soup. Actually, for $7.50 you can get several bowls at many of those places and still have some change. I think I’ll keep doing that.

1/5

– Justin

ToTo Ramen
Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh

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Piccola Italia Da Luigi

Piccola Italia, view from outside.

Al fresco dining.

Okay, everyone likes pizza. Well almost everyone aside from a few oddballs… So when there’s a new entrant into the Phnom Penh pizza scene they’re going to face a fair bit of scrutiny given the already solid list of pizzerias in town. Luckily Luigi’s, or more properly, Piccola Italia Da Luigi, is making a strong opening both with their pizzas and their deli counter.

Selection of antipasti.

Antipasti? Yes please!

The antipasti we started with were all great in my opinion. The selection of marinated artichoke, marinated aubergine, olives and stuffed peppers were a great way to start the meal with friends and went perfectly with the fresh bread provided. You can choose what you want from the deli counter and the prices range from $2.20 – $4.00 per 100 grams. We didn’t have chance to try on this occasion but they also have a selection of cured meats, fresh ricotta cheese, pesto, further antipasti and arancini.

Pizza with sausage, tomatoes, cheese, olives

Sausage, tomatoes, cheese, olives

The pizzas were above average. Thin and crispy crust, quality toppings and of generous proportions, they ticked all the boxes for what a decent pizza should be. My favourite was the sausage pizza, the name of which now escapes me but I will probably order it again. The supposedly extra spicy pizza was tasty but the ‘spicy’ tomato sauce wasn’t very punchy. This was however, easily rectified by the addition of some of their excellent chili oil. Though I’m still not entirely convinced of the merits of a seafood pizza, this one was actually pretty good and I was happy to do my part in finishing it off.

All in all Luigi’s is a solid contender for best pizza place in Phnom Penh. The excellent food coupled with the al fresco experience in a quiet lane off Norodom make for a great choice.

Justin – 4/5 nyamies

The spicy one, olives, peppers, pepperoni?, chili..

The spicy one, olives, peppers, pepperoni?, chili, tomato sauce

There’s a new pizza joint in town: Piccola Italia da Luigi, or simply Luigi’s. Who is Luigi? This remains unclear, and while rumors circulate as to where his Mediterranean roots originate, the man serves up some tasty pizza pies.

My first encounter with Luigi’s was through some take-away pizzas, which while tasty, don’t really compare to eating one fresh from the oven. I enjoy Luigi’s pizza, but I think I am equally enamored with the ambiance. Located down a little alley, with light from the restaurant spilling onto the otherwise darkened street, and cozy small tables set up street-side, I can’t help but think of that infamous date scene in Lady and the Tramp. You know what I’m talking about.

Seafood pizza

Olives, tomato, squid, other stuff?

Ok, Disney paramours aside, I encourage you to visit Luigi’s for the food. This trip introduced me to the array of antipasti available. My favorites included the olives, hinted with fennel, and the tangy marinated artichokes. Order a loaf of fresh bread, a chilled glass of the house red, and dive in. Also on the menu are risotto balls, which while at a higher price point ($3 each), are intriguing. We missed trying them this trip, but this conveniently gives me an excuse to go back.

We split 3 pizzas: italian sausage with olives, seafood, and spicy pepperoni. The pizzas are large (we were four hungry folks and had leftovers) and the prices are comparatively reasonable ($7+ per pizza). With a list of over 15 styles of pizza, choosing was difficult, but we were not disappointed with our selections. The sausage and spicy pepperoni were both fantastic, but I was most taken with the seafood pizza. Both the shrimp and squid were tender, not chewy and perfectly seasoned. Though sauce-less, a generous drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of chili perfectly matched the seafood.

Big pizzas

They’re big. And delicious. You should eat one.

Stuffing ourselves silly on antipasti and pizza, we skipped out on dessert. In contrast to their extensive pizza menu, Luigi only dishes up one post-dinner sweet: tiramisu. From a previous visit I know that, while not entirely traditional in presentation, the tiramisu is divine.

Compared to all the pizza options in Phnom Penh, I would place Luigi’s at the top of my list. The ingredients are superb, and the sauce is delicious. While the crust is wood-fired to perfection, I think there is something missing… It might be salt. However, pizza is a personal thing and so I respect the decisions Luigi made in his recipe. Overall, Luigi’s is a win in my books.

Alissa – 4/5 nyamies

Piccola Italia Da Luigi
Address: M36Eo Street 308 (small street next to Malis restaurant), Phnom Penh
Tel: 017 323 273
Email: luigisavarino@gmail.com
11.30am – 10pm (closed Mondays)

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Barn Barn Singapore Chicken Rice

Barn Barn Singapore Chicken RIce

Barn Barn Singapore Chicken Rice

For a little Tuesday lunch action we swung by Barn Barn Singapore Chicken Rice near Toul Tom Pong Market. Their signature dish is, as you may have guessed, Singaporean-style Hainanese chicken with rice. I’ve been there a few times and it’s pretty good so we thought we’d stop by and make a review of it.

It was not to be. They’d run out of chicken just as we were arriving so what follows is a review of a chicken and rice joint, without the signature chicken and rice….

SONY DSC

Tea

Tea

Justin – It seems that outside of the chicken, the menu is far more Khmer inspired so I thought I’d throw myself in and get some prahok. As you can see it came with rice and some raw veggies to dip in the prahok. It tasted really good and was much more like a fish curry than the smellier versions of prahok you can get out there.

'Khmer paste' aka prahok with rice and veg $2

‘Khmer paste’ aka prahok with rice and veg $2

Lots of flavour, I would definitely order it again. My only criticism is that it’s not that much food so you’ll probably want to order something else too… which is easy as all the foods are $1-2. They also have home-made soy milk, not everyones cup of tea but it’s nutritious and delicious and only 2000 riel for a bottle.

'Khmer paste' aka prahok with rice and veg $2

‘Khmer paste’ aka prahok with rice and veg $2

Tim – Being the culinarily unadventurous Nyam Penh contributor, I went with the standard Bi Char (Fried Rice), with Chicken of course. Barn Barn was pretty full, so it took a while for my meal to come out. I could only look on at Justin’s prahok with a mix of curiosity and a tempered sense of disgust. Gone was the dish that I had long associated with fish gizzards drying on the side of a hot, dusty road; only to be replaced with something approaching a curry. I eat curry, could I eat prahok? We’ll never know… chicken fried rice it was.

Fried rice $2

Fried rice $2

The fried rice was good… as good as any fried rice with bits of chicken and vegetables can be. There was the standard side of chillies in soy sauce and a couple of slices of cucumber to make the meal look like it wasn’t designed for a child.

Fried noodles with chicken broth $2

Fried noodles with chicken broth $2

Tim – Branching out, I decided to also order the deep fried mushrooms. These were quite bready which meant they were also more oily than I was expecting. If you’re intrigued, I’d recommend sharing the dish so you don’t break through the grease ceiling, that mythical limit to the amount of fatty foods you can ingest before hating yourself. I don’t think I’d try them again.

Deep fried mushrooms $1

Deep fried mushrooms $1

Justin – I also ordered what they called yam baskets. I’m 95% sure they are actually grated taro rather than yam but either way they are really good. A little greasy but the crunchy and sweet shredded roots are delicious and with the sweet chilli sauce made for a good side. Crumbly though…

Crunchy 'yam' baskets... actually made of taro $1

Crunchy ‘yam’ baskets… actually made of taro $1

Peanut filled cakes and sticky rice with coconut 3/$1

Peanut filled cakes and sticky rice with coconut 3/$1

Justin – The desserts were okay. The peanut-filled cakes tasted good but were stuck like glue to the banana leaf ‘wrappers’ they were sitting on. The sticky rice and coconut was fine but maybe a bit to jelly-like for me.

Peanut filled cakes and sticky rice with coconut 3/$1

Peanut filled cakes and sticky rice with coconut 3/$1

Cake with peanut filling - 3/$1

Cake with peanut filling – 3/$1

Destroyed Desserts

Destroyed Desserts

Barn Barn Singapore Chicken Rice
No 174 Street 454
Toul Tom Pong
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
095 722 142
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Filed under Khmer, Lunch