A couple weeks ago, a friend and I decided to spoil ourselves over a long Friday afternoon lunch at Abacus Restaurant, Garden & Bar – which I have been told quite often has the best food in Siem Reap, but is also considerably pricey for Cambodia. Abacus serves French and International Food, with a constantly updated menu that is provided on a menu board in the dining room. It’s open daily after 11 am, so we definitely took full advantage of the fact that the restaurant doesn’t shut down between meals and languished over a 4.5 hour seating starting at 2 pm. As it’s now low season in Siem Reap, we managed to have the air-conditioned dining room pretty much all to ourselves for most of the afternoon. The restaurant also has an outdoor seating area set in a garden and a private room that can be reserved for special events.
We both started off with a glass of rosé (or two), while perusing the menu, and enjoying the cool temperature of the restaurant during the hot day.
To start things off, we were served an amuse bouche with cured meat and couscous. I believe the meat is locally made by a very friendly and kind Khmer man named Titi, who sells his cheeses and meats out of his kitchen next door to L’Oasi Italian Restaurant at the far northern end of the East River Road.
Couscous Amuse Bouche
Following that, and with another glass of rosé, we had a couple of appetizers. The Scallops, King Prawns, Artichoke Puree, Pesto and Parmesan Foam were delicious. The scallops were cooked just right and were perfectly tender – definitely the standout part of the dish.
Scallops, King Prawns, Artichoke Puree, Pesto & Parmesan Foam
We also had the Pan Fried Foie Gras, Apple and Walnut, Garden Greens. We received a warm bread basket at the start of the meal, and found that the best way to eat the foie gras was to put it on the bread and sprinkle a little salt on top, along with the apple and walnut mixture beneath.
Pan Fried Foie Gras, Apple and Walnut, Garden Greens
When moving on to our mains, we switched over to a couple of glasses of the cabernet sauvignon, and then dug into our Entrecote Bordelaise (Ribeye), Baby Potatoes, Spinach and Mushrooms. Ordered and served rare, it was fantastic to have a steak again after spending so much time in Asia and not being able to find an enjoyable one for ages. I wasn’t in love with the mushroom and spinach sides, but I really did love the tender meat, with just the right amount of marbling. First thing when I’m back in Canada again tomorrow is to BBQ myself a bone-in ribeye!
Entrecote Bordelaise (Ribeye), Baby Potatoes, Spinach and Mushrooms
Our second main was Sea Bass, Mixed Vegetables, Sweet Potato, Mussels, Chorizo, and Cream Sauce. In this case, the vegetables were edamame and asparagus, served with a lemon wedge on the side. The mussels weren’t really anything to write home about, but I did quite enjoy the sea bass, which seemed quite fresh. It’s always a bit scary when ordering seafood in the middle of Cambodia, because you always have to wonder where it’s coming from – I’d only trust higher end restaurants in Siem Reap.
Sea Bass, Mixed Vegetables, Sweet Potato, Mussels, Chorizo, and Cream Sauce
Next up, it was time for round one of dessert – a Crème Brûlée. The serving size was quite large, and it essentially filled a regular soup bowl. It wasn’t too memorable, and was verging on the overcooked side, but then again, we enjoyed it for what it was.
After several glasses of wine (I think the bill showed a total of 13 glasses between 2 people by the end of the meal), we decided it would be a good idea to splurge on a Cuban cigar while we were at it. So we ordered one randomly (neither of us were really sure what to choose), and then went and sat outside in the garden patio area to enjoy it with more wine and whiskey. By this time, it was already around 5:30 PM, so the weather was beginning to cool down and the sky was a bit overcast.
After lounging outside for at least 45 minutes or even another full hour (which included some memorable events as a result of accidentally inhaling a bit of cigar), we headed back in and ordered some ice cream. We had a scoop of pistachio and durian, which were extremely creamy and exactly what I was craving, even in my extremely full and slightly drunken state.
Durian & Pistachio Ice Cream
If you’re heading to Siem Reap and looking for a high-end, quality meal, definitely don’t miss Abacus. The food is well-prepared and fresh, the service is excellent, and the atmosphere is great for relaxing over a long meal. Perfect for a date or a special occasion, or if you’re a foodie and just want to eat something that’s done well in the middle of Cambodia!
Road No 6 to the Airport, pass the Angkor Hotel, and turn right at the ACLEDA Bank; the restaurant is located 100 m, on the left-hand side.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Telephone for reservations:
(+855) 63 763 660
(+855) 12 644 286
(+855) 92 318 528