Phnom Penh & Gastronomy: Mrs. Sophie Guégan and Mr. Jacques Pellet discover the delights of Siena

The diplomatic corps, due to its role of representation – among many others – is generally accustomed to excellent quality gastronomy. It therefore seemed interesting to propose to the Ambassador of France in Cambodia, Mr. Jacques Pellet, and Mrs. the Consul, Sophie Guégan, to give their opinion on one of the new jewels of the Thalias group: Sienaitalian restaurant and wine bar. An experience they showed a lot of attention and curiosity for. 

Located on the 27th floor of the Flatiron by Meridian building, Siena restaurant, the latest creation of the Thalias group, officially opened its doors to the public in early September of this year. It is therefore the setting of a brand-new restaurant that our guests were able to discover during this tasting. Luxurious setting, but without excess, very pleasant natural light and above all an impressive view of Phnom Penh through immense bay windows, the Siena is also an opportunity to see how much the capital is developing at high speed. An experience that is even more impressive during the sunset.

Comfortable seating, impeccable table setting, and smiling, discreet, but efficient staff, everything has been thought out so that the customer feels perfectly at ease from the first minutes. The chef who has been talked about so much for the past few months, Giuseppe Napoletano is in the kitchen, he does not show himself, working with precision and concentration for this meal for the perfect meal. Giuseppe, affectionately called Pino, is like that: Italian eloquence during moments of relaxation, But a meticulous expertise in the art of Italian cuisine in the kitchen. Let’s even talk about intransigence when it comes to using the best and most authentic ingredients and condiments for his recipes. Pino is a purist, a lover of fine Italian cuisine, a permanent artist, but humble and discreet.

For this meal, Pino will offer a generous variant of the menu served at the opening of Siena with several emblematic dishes that had already delighted the privileged ones who were able to attend the event. After the traditional amuse-bouche, a real composition arrives – a set of quite remarkable flavors. It is there “an authentic celebration of Italian cuisine”, indicates the menu.

The original and appetizing set offers :

  • a carpaccio with very thin slices, delicately garnished with a fillet of parmigiano – parmesan, lemongrass and some crispy vegetables
  • fried calamari and vegetables with thyme, potato velouté, Italian salad with aioli
  • a slice of veal stuffed with tuna mousse and quail egg

Cleverly arranged so that the flavors can follow each other harmoniously, these three dishes are a real little feat. One might fear that the combination of meat and seafood might get a bit complicated, but this is not the case. It’s a symphony of flavors that’s enjoyed without a false note. It’s simply delicious, and we can’t wait to try it again.

Beautiful Italy and a vivid imagination, we might say, for the next course. Pino offers us typical pasta from the Naples region with Sienese pork ragout, fresh cheese with pecorino – a parmesan made from sheep’s milk – and basil. The meat of the pig from Siena, which can be found all over Tuscany, was recognized by an appellation of origin by the European Commission in 2012. This rustic pork meat – La Cinta Senese to cite its original name – stands out from other meats by its pronounced flavor. It also makes it possible to make high quality charcuterie (salami, ham, bacon, porchetta…) that can be tasted in the many osteria – wine bars in Siena. It is therefore not surprising that this dish is also a real delight thanks to the extreme quality of the meat, but also the perfectly cooked pasta “al dente”, crowned with a creamy Pecorino cream and sprinkled with fragrant basil leaves.

The second main course was also a small masterpiece: a pan-seared sea bass fillet accompanied by clams and coated with an asparagus sauce. Once again, Maestro Pino shines in all his splendor. The fish is a remarkable delicacy, and the accompaniment is dosed with impressive finesse.

“In a dish, you have to know how to compose an accompaniment and a sauce balanced enough so that the flavor of the meat, fish or chicken is not obscured by too many additional tastes”, Pino shared after the meal. This beautiful gastronomic interlude ended with a famous Italian dessert: a Tiramisu with the chef’s personal touch.

Not too much to add about this final. Even if the generosity of the previous dishes was largely enough to satisfy, this delicious dessert lets itself be eaten by greed. It offered a splendid conclusion for this tasting ended by an exceptional talent. Simple reaction from our guests, they just said: “it was excellent!” They seemed apparently delighted with this beautiful discovery, before warmly greeting and congratulating the mastermind of this sublime lunch.

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