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Showing posts with label Western Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Western Food. Show all posts

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Siem Reap: Haven Training Restaurant, where helping taste good.

Fine dining in Siem Reap was a pleasant experience with local ingredients working their way to excite my palate.  But on my 3rd day, I wanted to fulfil a more noble cause by eating charitably.  I dined at Haven Training Restaurant, a social enterprise aimed at helping the vulnerable by teaching them an important life skill.  Note that Haven is neither religious or governmental.

As important as the background maybe, quality food is all that matters when you are in the industry.  So lets look at what we had that day:

Salt & Pepper Calamari 

This humble dish needs no introduction.  Haven aced it beyond the scoreboard in my opinion.  Crisp, lightly battered and served crisp, these moreish bite sized appetiser was simply but every bit satisfying.  The serve of tartare on the size was well-made with a balance struck between the tartness of the pickles and the creaminess of the mayonnaise.

Fried Corn
The fried corn is NOT a popcorn but rather a traditional Khmer appetiser .  Scrapped of the corn cob, the kernels were fried upon order.  It carried a unique flavour where it was a tad salty, garlicky, mildly spicy and herbed thanks to the generous amounts of chopped coriander.  It was really nice at first but the large serve was hard to finish as the kernels felt a tad oily towards the end!

Chicken Cordon Bleu
Like the calamari, I suspect that the Cordon Bleu is another classic Western dish introduced by the owners.  While the best Cordon Bleu probably hails from Switzerland, I was actually pretty impressed with the one served at Haven Training Restaurant.  It was faultless to the extend that even the chicken breast was juicy!   On the inside was a generous slice of ham and a decent kick of cheese!  Not the cheesiest but it was substantial.  If you are lazy like me and swap out the occasional Friday night chicken Parmi for a Cordon Bleu, you will be pretty impressed.  The chips on the side, not impressive at all.  Definitely needs to be crispier!

Khmer Lok Lak
JH’s main was the Khmer Lok Lak after a practice of due diligence to ensure that only the best dishes were ordered.  Surprise surprise.  Another Pad Krapow look-alike.  As I have preached several times in the last two posts, the Khmer palate is very SUBTLE.  So do not expect heavy lashing of fish sauce, sweet soy and lemon. The Khmer Lok Lak was no exception.  It was a little underwhelming but every bit delicious.  Something mom would cook at home because an overdose in seasoning is unhealthy! 

Banana Cake
A surprising appetiser that was quite nice actually.  A littler drier and denser than a typical banana cake but it was flavoursome enough to tempt.  I imagine having it with coconut ice cream would make it even better :P!

Charity is a very sellable idea in this modern day and if you are not convinced, come in without a booking at dinner and be turned away in an instant.  Lunch on the other hand is not so stringent.  And do not get me wrong, I am not belittling the idea of charity and honestly I loved the idea of helping.  As Haven's tagline suggests, “where helping taste good”.  That is because for most parts of the meal, it really did!  But was this meal really a $30 dollar meal including 2 coconuts?  Hmm I wonder.

Haven training kitchen is ranked no.3 on Trip Advisor and despite open voting, I am not sure whether the voters were voting by their mouths or by their intentions.  Needless to say if a person ever asked me whether I would return to Haven?  More yes than no for sure.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Bites: The Brisbane @ Northbridge

When my boss left last week, it was not all doom and gloom.  The structural group had lunch together to remember what everybody considered a friend, a boss and a teacher.    The venue unsurprisingly, was the Brisbane which is a place the employees  frequent.  I have been here three times this year, once when I started, next was due to a monthly gathering within the group and now this occasion.


The company has a zero alcohol tolerance so I guess a glass of bitters is good enough! Not like I would drink alcohol anyways :P

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Long live the RBs!  Almost thought I had lost them when I went laser tag the last time! Amazingly it was found and returned!  Perhaps my boss too, would return after his holiday :)!  Then again, 70 years old and working sounds really cruel!



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For my meal last week, I ordered the lamb shank @ $32.50. The lamb shank was well-cooked when you consider the tender meat falling of the bone. Vegetables were well caramelized with the exception of the baby carrots which could have benefited from being caramelized a tad longer. The mash also was spot on with me finishing every bit of it.  With so many components done well, it really felt as if this was the perfect dish. And just when you thought so, there comes the typical brown sauce all classic yet one dimensional in a dish like this.  The lamb itself is not a very tasty piece of meat.  I was hoping for a little acidity or perhaps sweetness which might have been enough with the carrots if the piece of meat was not so huge.  So perhaps a tomato based sauce or some chutney on the side or anything!  This seems to have plagued most of the shanks that I have been having lately! EMO!


Brisbane as a corporate lunch place or perhaps a place for drinks after work is good with a decent interior and a really lovely court yard.  Taking about a foodie meeting, and it is a place one would definitely write off.  It is not all that bad.  Of the three occasions that I have been there, the most memorable one would have to be the time when I had the steak sandwich.  It was seriously good.  Probably one of the better ones out there! But with a price tag of $2X, that better be one heck of a sandwich!



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