Tag Archives: Alley Cat Cafe

Grease is the Word

The alley that leads to the Alley Cat Cafe

Let's play the Find The Sign game.

Nestled in an alley off Street 19, the only indication of the Alley Cat Cafe’s presence is a sign that gets lost in the busy jumble that is Phnom Penh’s street signage. Which is a shame because the food is pretty good.

The view in a booth at the Alley Cat Cafe

The view in a booth at the Alley Cat Cafe

Alley Cat Cafe serves Americana and Mexican food at pretty reasonable prices. The interior of the joint is a bit sparse and could use what I will refer to as “a woman’s touch” but in all honesty, what brought us to the place was the burgers.

And they are definitely worth it.

For some unknown reason, the 4 of us decided to go for it and ordered 5 plates.  2 burgers, 1 sandwich, an order of fajitas and nachos. I was thinking of using the “Fat Cat” option (which doubles the patties for $2.00 extra) for one of the burgers but decided that it would have hit gluttonous levels that I didn’t want to hit for lunch. If you are a bit hungry and were willing to sacrifice dinner, breakfast and lunch the following day, I would suggest ordering the Quadruple Bypass!

Nachos with queso dip and salsa

Nachos with queso dip and salsa

We ordered chips with queso dip and salsa for a starter just to get things rolling. The queso dip was a bit thin for my tastes and I ended up getting some of it on the table during the transfer process from the plate to my mouth. When it did hit my mouth, it was pretty tasty with a surprise addition of sliced button mushrooms in the mix. The salsa that accompanied was very fresh with distinct tastes of lime and chopped chili bursting through.

The next dish to come out was a sizzling plate of Fajitas Loco which combines chicken, steak and chorizo as the filling for the fajitas.

Fajitas Loco at Alley Cat Cafe

Fajitas Loco at Alley Cat Cafe

Accompanying the sizzling dish was some tortillas, rice, salsa, sour cream and a generous helping of shredded cheddar cheese. I really dug the fajitas but if you don’t care too much for chorizo, I would stay away from ordering the Fajitas Loco as the chorizo overpowered the rest of the flavors in the sizzle dish.

Now onto the burgers! We ordered the Supreme and the Bacon, Blue Cheese and Mushroom burgers. Both come with crinkly fries and were cooked medium.

Supreme Burger at Alley Cat Cafe

Supreme Burger at Alley Cat Cafe

The Supreme Burger comes with tomato, iceberg lettuce, and grilled onions on a bun that was buttery and toasty (a huge plus). The Bacon, Blue Cheese and Mushroom burger had sauteed mushrooms, still a bit chewy bacon and an ample amount of blue cheese atop the meat patty. The patties on both burgers had a great crunchy crust that gave way to a  juicy patty when bitten into. Possibly the best hamburger patty I have had in Phnom Penh.

Bacon, Blue Cheese and Mushroom burger at Alley Cat Cafe

Bacon, Blue Cheese and Mushroom burger at Alley Cat Cafe

Bryse came in a bit late and ordered the Steak Sandwich. Unfortunately, Mark, the owner of Alley Cat came over and let us know that they were on the end bits of the bread that they normally use for the sandwich and instead offered the sandwich on a bun, which we didn’t mind after having the burgers.

Steak sandwich at Alley Cat Cafe

Steak sandwich at Alley Cat Cafe

The Steak Sandwich was definitely worth the wait as the steak was cooked to rare (my personal favorite temperature for steak). We pushed the excess factor to 11 by adding cheese and bacon. Talk about a cholesterol bomb!

All in all, the Alley Cat Cafe is a great restaurant that serves huge portions of food at a very reasonable price. You just have to find it first!

4 out of 5 nyamies

Vinh

Nachos with queso dip and salsa

Getting some dip

I’ve only been to Alley Cat for their Mexican fare before, which is quite good. The place itself is a little lacking in ambiance — there’s something a little bit joyless about the place that I can’t quite put my finger on. That said, the burgers at Alley Cat were not half bad.
We had a huge, disgusting spread consisting of chips and salsa plus a cheese dip (which Vinh later dipped his burger in, the glutton). The salsa was excellent but as EJ complained, there wasn’t enough! We also had a regular burger, a bacon blue cheese burger, a steak sandwich and some sort of mixed meat fajitas.
Bacon, Blue Cheese and Mushroom burger at Alley Cat Cafe

Bacon, Blue Cheese and Mushroom burger at Alley Cat Cafe

The burger was good — the bun was toasted, the beef was juicy, a good solid burger. My complaints had to do with preparation. There were no pickles on the burger, which we found out later was accidental. I could taste cumin on a couple of bites, probably from them using the same grill as for the fajita meat without cleaning it, and it wasn’t salted enough for my taste. The blue cheese bacon burger was also good, but I felt the blue cheese overwhelmed the burger and it was too blue cheese-y for me, but others who are bigger fans of blue cheese would love it. Both were served on fluffy weak buns. I know that in our burger tastings we are going to encounter these same buns at most places in Cambodia, but they are the sort of thing I’d knock off a few points for if we were burger tasting in the States, so I feel obliged to mention them here. I ate enough fries that I was nearly sick, so they must have been good.
The real standout was the steak sandwich, which although not technically a burger, was truly delicious and calorically intense, topped with both bacon and cheese. Definitely worth a visit to Alley Cat.
Burger rating: 3/5 nyamies
Overall rating:3.5/5 nyamies

Lina

Supreme Burger at Alley Cat Cafe

Supreme Burger at Alley Cat Cafe

When I eat a burger, I expect to get a little messy.  I mean, to me, what’s a burger without an abundance of toppings and condiments.  I want my burger’s contents to be oozing out of the sides of the bun, and I like it greasy, but again, that’s just me. That’s why Alley Cat’s burgers appealed to me.  They have what I call a ‘Hangover Burger’ which equates to: stacked, messy, delicious, and greasy.  In addition, a lightly toasted burger bun wraps it all up in a nice crispy crunch.  I like that Alley Cat has a satisfying variety of burgers to choose from with different toppings, but, of course, it wouldn’t hurt if they came up with more variations.

Fajitas Loco at Alley Cat Cafe

Fajitas Loco at Alley Cat Cafe

Just in case you’re not a burger person the fajitas will rock your world.  They go the whole 9-yards, providing rice and beans, chicken or beef (or both), salsa and sour cream – I mean, the works, *side note* the mango salsa is flavorful and beyond fantastic.  As a whole, what I appreciate about the Alley Cat is that you get more for your money.  You leave with a full belly and a bit of a food coma.

3 nyamies

EJ

Bacon, Blue Cheese and Mushroom burger at Alley Cat Cafe

Bacon, Blue Cheese and Mushroom burger at Alley Cat Cafe

So far, the bacon cheeseburger at Alley Cat is my favorite burger in Phnom Penh. No crazy frills, just a solid burger with all of the right ingredients (lettuce, tomato, and most importantly pickles). I’m not a big blue cheese fan so I skipped the blue cheese and mushroom and stuck with the supreme and it was pretty great. But like with most restaurants in Phnom Penh, consistency can be a bit of an issue and they had forgotten the pickles on the burger which … was tough.

Making a fajita taco at the Alley Cat Cafe

Making a fajita taco at the Alley Cat Cafe

The fajitas and chips and dip were pretty decent but personally I wouldn’t come to Alley Cat for the Mexican food. Not that it was bad at all but the burgers and sandwiches really outshine the Mexican dishes.

Steak sandwich at Alley Cat Cafe

Steak sandwich at Alley Cat Cafe

The night before we went to Alley Cat I mentioned it to a good friend and he highly recommended the steak sandwich. It had never even caught my eye on the menu but we gave it a shot. The Owner, Mark took our order on the steak sandwich and asked us if we wanted cheese so I asked him what he recommended, his response: “Everything is better with cheese.” He was right. Definitely not an everyday sandwich but it was pretty amazing. I’m always looking for better burgers but so far, Alley Cat is my pick for Phnom Penh.

4 out 5 nyamies

Bryse

Alley Cat Cafe
No. 42, Ang Yukanthor (St. 19), corner of St. 178, opposite Royal School of Fine Arts
Phnom Penh

Just south of street 178, look across the street from the Royal School of Fine Arts for the Alley Cat Cafe sign. Just head down the alleyway for 50 meters and it is on your left.

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Ribs Ribs Ribs

A very happy EJ

A very happy EJ

I think everyone who reads this blog knows how fanatical we are about meat on the bone. So when I found out that  Sharky’s was running their 1st ever ribs cookoff, it was an easy decision to join the masses for some meat.

9 competitors vied for the “Piggie” award and with three professional palates taking care of the judging, it was going to be a tough competition!

We were getting hungry and a bit impatient for the ribs to come out, so we ordered some nachos to stave off the hunger until the main event. I have always loved the nachos at Sharky’s. I think it has to do with the copious amounts of cheddar cheese sauce and jalapenos on the plate.

Demolished nachos

Demolished nachos

The judges got their portions of ribs all at once which made practically everyone in the bar (well at least at my table) stare hungrily at all the white styrofoam boxes littered on the judging table. What made it even worse was the announcement from the management that turnout was larger than expected and they may not have enough to go around!

The judging table

The judging table

Fifteen minutes later, the all you can feast of coleslaw, corn on the cob and potato salad was unwrapped, ribs started coming out in white styrofoam boxes and we finally got to eating!

Ribs contestant number 1: Conner

Ribs contestant number 1: Conner

Ribs contestant number 2: Rory's Restaurant

Ribs contestant number 2: Rory's Restaurant

Ribs contestant number 3: Jake from Sharky's

Ribs contestant number 3: Mike from Sharky's

Ribs contestant number 4: Ebony

Ribs contestant number 4: Ebony

Ribs contestant number 5: Chona Correa

Ribs contestant number 5: Chona Correa

Ribs contestant number 6: Lone Star

Ribs contestant number 6: Lone Star

Ribs contestant number 7: Rusty Keyhole

Ribs contestant number 7: Rusty Keyhole

Ribs contestant number 8: Ross

Ribs contestant number 8: Ross

Ribs contestant number 9: Dallas from Alley Cat

Ribs contestant number 9: Dallas from Alley Cat

Ribs contestant number 10: Al from Sharky's

Ribs contestant number 10: Al from Sharky's

I don’t want to go into detail about the ribs except that they were all very good and portion sizes were ample. Also, number 10 was not given to the judges but given to the crowd for the People’s Choice vote.

We were completely stuffed and totally ribbed out when number 10 rolled out. In our group of 10, 8 picked the ribs from Rusty as the clear winner with one vote going to Number 3 and to Number 9 respectively.

In the end, the People’s Choice Award went to Rusty Keyhole in Kampot.

And the winners are:

3rd place: Number 9 which came from Dallas at Alley Cat Cafe

2nd place: Number 3 which came from Mike who owns Jake’s BBQ restaurant located in NYC

1st place: Number 4 which were beef ribs that came from Ebony (no restaurant affiliation)

I have to admit that when I tasted the ribs from Ebony, they were impressive. I  thought they were lamb ribs and the sauce was excellent. Not too sweet and had a subtle roasted garlic taste to it. I tried to get the recipe from Ebony but I think she is keeping it secret for next year!

Many thanks to the Sharky’s crew for organizing this event and I hope to see more of these cookoffs in Cambodia!

Just some more images from the night.

Jake dishing out the goods

Mike dishing out the goods

Bringing out the next contestant

Bringing out the next contestant

Ribs from Dallas

Ribs from Dallas

Someone came prepared!

Someone came prepared!

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