Tag Archives: lunch

Fox Wine Bistro

The Bar

Fox is the latest offering by the entrepreneurs who brought Brown to Phnom Penh, and it has a lot of the same things going for it: well-trained staff, great interior spaces, and a mission to make Cambodian clientele feel at home in a typically Western setting. If you go, go at night; take friends or a date, enjoy the wine and the buzz of conversations in Khmer and western languages, and be open to some interesting Asian spins on the kind of dishes you find at Deco or Topaz.

Indoor/Outdoor Seating

But OK, because we were taking photographs, Bryse, Anna, Peter and I went in the middle of the day one Saturday. It was kind of empty, and we didn’t have any wine, so we basically opted out of two of Fox’s top selling points. We also didn’t order any of the over $10 options on the menu. With those caveats, here are our thoughts on some of the dishes as we experienced them in the harsh, sober light of day.


Fox serves a great-looking “burger”; well-toasted bun (complete with subtle “Fox” bun brand), sloppy egg on top, and with a decent side of wilted greens for a dash of healthiness. However, look under the hood and you’ll discover that this is not a standard ground beef patty, but rather, a small pile of saucy beef cubes. If I had ulterior motives, I could spin this as a groundbreaking Asian fusion burger, but to be honest, it was a little weird and disappointing, particularly compared to other Nyam Penh burger adventures. Also, where are the fries? For $6.50 or less, you can get way better, more traditional burgerage in Phnom Penh.

Mini Burgers

The mini-burgers look adorable and taste pretty good. Unlike the regular sized burger, these have more traditional patty structure and texture. Alas, the truly delightful burger physics of juicy-centeredness and outer-crustiness are rarely found at this quantum level, and even as mini burgers go, these didn’t have that much meat. But Fox mini burgers, how can I look at Anna’s picture of your tiny Fox buns and write you off as not worthwhile? At $5-$6, they are not a bad choice for an appetizer.

Whatever Roswell Ordered

The chicken has a very Western presentation, and yet the flavors are all Khmer. The sauce reminded us of amok, with delicious notes of lemongrass. I could have used some rice, though; like with the “burger,” it seemed conspicuously carb deficient. It was particularly odd that it didn’t come with rice, since, according to the waitress, this is a dish designed for Cambodian diners who aren’t in the mood for our exotically ethnic food (“they say it is too bland,” she explained) and prefer something they’re used to. To a Westerner, on the other hand, it is a very intriguing take on a gourmet chicken dish. A little steep at $8, but worth a try.

Fox Bistro Anna Clare Spelman-8

This is the goat cheese beet root salad with strawberries and walnuts. Unfortunately, there are only two slices of strawberries, very few beet roots, and not a lot of goat cheese — and the goat cheese, unfortunately, doesn’t have that crumble to its creaminess that usually makes goat cheese worthwhile, it was closer to standard cream cheese in blandness and texture. In addition to the vinagrette on the side, the salad leaves came already dressed in oil, making the whole thing unexpectedly greasy.

For the above dishes, we stuck with the under-$10 options. Our waitress, who was very helpful and well-spoken, noted that the more expensive dishes (Australian rib-eye; lamb; etc) were the most popular, and I would spring for those next time I go back. And I will go back. Like I said at the top, it’s a good scene at night, and it’s nice to have a Western restaurant that really feels like it has grown up in the new, cosmopolitan Cambodia.


-photos by Anna.



Filed under Uncategorized

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.


– Justin

ToTo Ramen
Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh


Filed under Japanese

New Nyamers / Sesame Noodle Bar

Hello again! After spending the past few months slacking / being sad about Vinh moving away (and starting a new blog in Vietnam), I was given a kind kick in the butt to start posting again. This friendly kick even made introductions to a new crew of folks that will help posting new fun places to try. So I’d like to introduce the new nyamers (borrowing Corbett’s introductions):

  • Caitlin – Skinny as a whistle but a foodie none the less, Caitlin did the typical blog thing– started off strong, and then it sort of let it linger. Never let it linger. The thing is, she’s got a great voice, and I think dangling a bit of food in front of her is just the right thing to get her inspired again. To see her writing chops, visit some of her past posts at: http://limeandpepper.wordpress.com/ 
  • Robert – He is the counter for anyone else you’ll find. He’s a glass is half empty type of guy when it comes to food, but like a stale beer at 4 am, he’ll drink it anyway.  He’ll bring neutrality to your rating system. Also a good photographer, he’s looking for inspiration to start shooting again. 
  • Justin – Graphic Designer, photographer, tech head and pocket-conscious foodie, Justin tries everything and runs algorithms to cross tabulate delight against price. More about non-foodie Justin at: http://justinpn.com/
  • Roswell – Roswell is our big boy from Boston. He eschews cutlery in favor of  hammers and nails and is the sly, quip master of our dining experiences. As the nerd-in-residence, he analyzes every food adjective before laying pen to paper. Actually, the last part is a lie. He actually writes in the blood of vanquished chefs. Great hair too.
  • Tim –  Cofounder of Co-Lab and all around tech talented despite being Australian. Tim will help out with making the blog look nice, eating and photos. 
  • Ben – Obviously so talented he does not need a last name. Tim’s recommendation but he’s got mapping chops you can see here. Ben will help add some mapping features to the blog so places will be easier to find.

Thanks to Corbett’s help, we have a new crew of nyamers that will be eating, and posting and hopefully we will have lot of new fun places to try this year. And because Corbett has been so nice, we will provide his wife’s new restaurant a shameless plug.

Outside Sesame Noodle Bar

Sesame Noodle Bar

Sesame Noodle Bar is a great new Japanese cold noodle bar just South of the Russian Market. Again, this is a blatantly biased review but Keiko and Corbett have setup a really cool, comfortable restaurant with tasty, cheap dishes.

Inside Sesame Noodle Bar

Inside Sesame Noodle Bar

Things are still getting set up and they are only open for lunch at this point but lunch specials are $4.75 for a bowl of noodles and a side which is a pretty great deal. SNB is also probably the only restaurant in Cambodia with Edison bulbs which is pretty awesome.

The noodles at Sesame Noodle Bar


The signature cold noodle dish is served with a ton of veggies, a small bit of pork, hard boiled eggs (which I pick out) and a side of tahini sauce so it’s more of a salad then a typical noodle bowl. The lunch special also comes with a side of either gyoza, pork bun or a passion fruit, mint fruit shake. It really does make for a perfect lunch. Not hot, not too heavy but plenty to walk away full.

– Bryse

The noodles at Sesame Noodle Bar

more noodles

Justin: Thanks for the warm welcome to Nyam Penh Bryse! I’m looking forward to finding some great new places to add to the site… and to my waistline.

Speaking of great new places, SNB certainly is. I think Keiko and Corbett have developed a great idea that will be a real winner in Toul Tom Pong. It would be nice to see more places trying out creative new ideas like this.

Pumpkin Sesame Balls at Sesame Noodle Bar

Pumpkin Sesame Balls at Sesame Noodle Bar

I have to admit, I’ve been through the doors of Sesame more than a few times since they opened but I keep coming back to two dishes. The aforementioned noodle bowl is delicious and is like you say, a little salad-like in its freshness and healthy serving of veg. And that lightness is oh so well balanced by the sweet and rich pork that goes along with it.

Sriracha hot sauce at Sesame Noodle Bar

Sriracha hot sauce at Sesame Noodle Bar

But for me, the real treat at Sesame is the pork buns, or rather ‘Thor’ buns. Grilled pork belly with a little bit of pickle and some sauce inside a perfect little pocket of steamed bun. Damn it’s good. I could eat like forty of them and then wash them down with Sriracha.

Overall it’s turned into one of my fav places to get lunch and it’s a must to try for anybody in the area.

– Justin

Sesame Noodle Bar
(the real) #9 Street 460




Filed under Japanese, Lunch, Uncategorized