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