Thalias Hospitality

Phnom Penh & Gastronomy: Delicious Asian cuisine at Sevensea

After Yi sang, Kanji and Uy Kuyteav, Sevensea is the youngest restaurant of the Almond group of hotels and restaurants, owned by the prestigious Cambodian chef Luu Meng. Located just across from Ko Pich Island on the Tonle Bassac River, Sevensea occupies the ground and second floors of the Almond Bassac river hotel. It’s billed as a “seafood restaurant”, but in reality, the establishment’s menu has much more to tempt its clientele: some 50 dim-sum, ten egg dishes, nine varieties of kuy teav, and four kinds of noodles. You can also choose Japanese food: sushi, sashimi and salads. In addition to dim sum, Chinese cuisine is also well represented with salads, stir-fries, Cantonese roast, stir-fried rice and noodles, and soups from the Middle Kingdom (China). Seafood is also honoured: there is plenty of fresh oysters, shrimp, fish, but also some of the most emblematic and luxurious ingredients of Chinese seafood cuisine, such as abalone and sea cucumbers. The desserts, meanwhile, are decidedly Cambodian. To choose among this incredible variety of dishes is of course quite difficult. In any case, if you want to have a representative sample of the restaurant cuisine, several visits are necessary. Sevensea is a popular destination for Phnom Penh’s Chinese population who are looking to reconnect with the delicious atmosphere of Cantonese or Hong Kong-style weekend family brunches and their legendary dim-sum. The object is to select as many varieties as possible (the only limit being everyone’s appetite), in order to vary the pleasures. The most classic dim-sum are present on the Sevensea menu: “xiaomai” (a kind of cylindrical ravioli stuffed with pork, steamed and recognisable by its yellow envelope), ravioli with rice flour envelope and various fillings, “malaigao” (Malaysian cake), sticky rice with fatty pork and cooked in lotus leaves, fried shrimp dumplings and fried ravioli accompanied by the sweet mayonnaise that the Chinese love. A meal of dim sum can be perfectly complemented by a Cantonese rotisserie dish, such as a succulent portion of “chashao” (roasted pork belly cooked with honey), or stir-fried rice, of which several versions are offered, including “Cantonese rice” (which is actually called “Yangzhou stir-fried rice” in Chinese, after the Chinese city where this dish was developed). The first floor of the restaurant is occupied by the kitchen, which is partly open, and by a large, airy and bright dining room, elegantly laid out and furnished with a few square tables and many round tables such as those traditionally found in Chinese restaurants. On the second floor, there are seven tastefully decorated private lounges where groups seeking privacy can enjoy a quiet meal. The service in the dining room is just about flawless. Moreover, the service team is multilingual: Khmer, of course, but also English and Chinese are the languages frequently heard in the restaurant. The food is of good quality and the prices, if they are far from being the cheapest of the capital (it is necessary to count about fifteen dollars per person, drinks not included), remain nevertheless reasonable. The quality/price ratio is quite good. Only one reproach to address: the parking capacity for cars and motorcycles is insufficient considering the popularity of the restaurant, especially on weekends. Ratings (out of 5): Atmosphere: 4.5 Service: 4 Quality of the products: 4 Presentation of the dishes: 4,5 Quality/price ratio : 4,5 Overall score : 4,3 Texts and photographs by Pascal Médeville Adapted from an article in Cambodge Mag