Review: Romdeng

21 December 2016

I made my way to Phnom Penh on the same plane that took me to Vientiane (that’s how Vietnam Airlines does that route), so in some ways you can say I had a 3-day layover. But the flight was busy, full of bloody backpackers…just what I need… At least they were going *TO* Cambodia, so they aren’t rancidly odourous yet…

Anyway, we got to Phnom Penh and I managed to get through all the immigration mess because I had the foresight to get a visa beforehand — instead of applying for one at the border. But it took awhile for the bags to come out. Nevertheless, I found my car and we were en route to town — held up thanks to the all-powerful Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cavalcade heading out of the VIP terminal…

A long drive into town and I saw the different parts of the city, from highly developed to starting to become developed. We got to the older part of town and to my hotel, a cute little boutique place near the Royal Palace called VMansion. Nice rooms, very unique design. I just chilled in the room for a bit and the hotel had a working computer, so I managed to get some stuff done that I couldn’t thanks to that heavy HP brick I’m carrying around…

I ended up going out for an early dinner as I had not eaten all day. I walked a few blocks from my hotel to one of the best-known places to eat in town, Romdeng. It’s the sister restaurant to Makphet in Vientiane, where I had a rather lacklustre lunch…but let’s see how this place is.

For one, service was already better. I ordered and chilled with a nice cocktail. If I drank mostly beer in Hanoi and wine in Vientiane, I was doing cocktails here in Phnom Penh. Enjoyed it and my appetiser came — and I smiled.

tarantulas

It’s been probably 2 decades since I’ve had spiders, and these tarantulas were very nice. Meaty, much nicer than the ones I had before. Nice little glaze, with a delicious pepper sauce. Nice start!

As I was hungry I ordered 2 main courses. As they brought the dishes out, they told me I had one more rice if I needed it. I did. First was the five-spice pork belly…

pork-belly

Not bad, the Kampot peppercorns were a nice addition. The second dish features beef, basil and red ant…

beef-and-ant

Pretty good, but there were too few ants. Nice sauce here, and helped me put down more rice. An okay meal overall, I settled up and headed out. Expensive for local standards, but the raison d’etre of this restaurant is to help disadvantaged youth to learn a trade, so I’m all for helping out while filling my tummy.

I wandered back to my cute hotel and despite it being still rather humid and uncomfortable, I chilled at the bar and had a cocktail or two before I retired up the stairs and crashed out early. Another early morning tomorrow, and the heat and humidity will really challenge me…

Romdeng [រំដេង]
#74, Street 174
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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