Tag Archives: bacon

The Exchange Burger

The Exchange

The Exchange

The Exchange is one of a number of high-end restaurants that have opened up in Phnom Penh in the past 6 months. I tend to wait a bit to let the restaurant get on it’s feet a bit and sort out the niggly details that comes with opening a restaurant.

After hearing that Al formerly of Sharky’s was running the food side of things, I excitedly threw out this rule and showed up on opening day. Unfortunately, in my excited state, I forgot to bring my camera.

Interior at the Exchange

Interior at the Exchange

The interior of the Exchange exudes class and was very well designed. Also, I really enjoyed the open air feel of the place with lots of windows let in the breeze and light. I ordered the burger and my wife ordered the braised lamb shank. Both were excellent and the service was impeccable. The only issue was my burger was dripping with juices which made it nice and juicy but turned it into a soppy mess.  Al came over after our meal and I mentioned the juiciness. He winced and mentioned that the staff isn’t properly resting the burger before serving. I didn’t think anything of it as it was the first day.

Fast forward to a week ago where Bryse and I headed back to the Exchange to have one item and one item only: the cheeseburger.

The cheeseburger at the Exchange

The cheeseburger at the Exchange

It’s advertised as the Flame-Grilled Black Angus Beef Burger on the menu and was definitely worth it a second time around. The menu is a mix of  pan-asian and western grilled plates and prices range from 8.00 to 16.00 dollars but we didn’t bother with anything else.

Perfectly cooked cheeseburger at the Exchange

Perfectly cooked cheeseburger at the Exchange

Perfectly cooked to a rare temperature, the burger comes with extremely fresh tomatoes, crispy lettuce, an onion confit and swiss cheese on a not-too sweet sesame seed bun. A side of fries with a garlic aioli and ketchup round out the plate. Not too bad for $7.50. I mentioned in an previous post that T-Bone had the best burger in town but after this one, I have to take that crown off T-Bone and place it squarely on the Exchange burger. The high quality of the imported Australian meat shines through and the fresh garnishes make it the complete package.

Just a little juice

Just a little juice

So next time you are fixing for a burger and are willing to dish out a little more loi, then you can’t go wrong with the burger at the Exchange.

Vinh

Perfectly cooked cheeseburger at the Exchange

Perfectly cooked cheeseburger at the Exchange

A big old flag at the Exchange

A big old flag at the Exchange

The Exchange
#28 Street 47
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

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

2 Comments

Filed under Lunch

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.

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized