This Christmas, Mick and I decided to take the bull by its horns and splurge on a feast at the Sofitel Phokeethra in Phnom Penh. We wanted to experience a buffet of international standard, drink as much wine as we could fit in our bellies and have a grand old time with our friends while we were away from our families. This was an excellent choice!
Christmas in Cambodia is not a big deal, unless you go to visit expat shops such as the local supermarket, gourmet shops or gift places. The rest of the country runs as normal as this Christian celebration isn’t anything to talk about. The expat sector is well catered for though with tinsel and trees and shortbread and ferrero rocher chocolates available at inflated prices in your shopping malls and supermarkets. Some places are getting into the spirit however with apartment buildings featuring giant snow-globes with santa and his sleigh inside, christmas lights adorning tuk-tuks and beer company banners with santa hats on street corners.
On Christmas morning we woke to the usual market noises and made some phone calls to our family back home who were busily getting ready for the typical Australian feasts of seafood, salads and cold meats that we all enjoy at this summery time (although in our home towns the weather decided to be cool and rainy!). After phone calls and dressing rituals were completed, we popped a couple of bottles of sparkling wine and shared some fruit with our friends to get the digestive processes happening…you can’t go to a buffet on a completely empty stomach or else face the horror of not being able to get VFM (value for money).
Mick has a couple of rules when it comes to buffet and considering the amount of food that I have seen him eat, its good to take note. The main principle of buffets (according to Mick) is to avoid carbs – steer clear of anything with bread, pasta, potato, rice. He also says to go for high-value items only such as seafood, sashimi and lamb but to make sure they aren’t too rich. There is also no real rules to the combinations of eating nor is there any rules against going back to things (i.e. if you want to eat more seafood after dessert, go for it!).
With these rules in mind and a buzz from the sparkling wine, we headed off to the Sofitel to see what all the hype was about. We had heard nothing but great things about the Sofitel with very good reviews about the food, service and wine and we weren’t let down. The restaurant had gone above and beyond to put out some amazing food and even gave every guest a small gift (M&M’s!) at the tables.
Here’s a summary of the food that was on offer:
- Sashimi and Sushi station
- Cold seafood including prawns, crabs, mussels, oysters, whole salmon
- Bread section (not sure what was there)
- Roasts featuring beef, turkey, lamb and pork
- Grill-to-order section with lamb cutlets, steaks, salmon, fish, squid and prawns on offer
- Cold meats including hams, salami etc plus capers, olives and mustards plus raclette cheese
- Hot food section – not sure what was there but I think there was some stir-fries, grilled fish etc
- Steamed pork buns and duck pancakes
- Indian section with papadams, kebabs and curries
- Cheese display with around 10-15 different kinds including blue cheese, goats cheese and brie
- Dessert area with icecreams, pavlova, fresh fruit, macaroons, apple tart, fruit mince pies, christmas log and petit fours.
Highlights of the day were definitely the sashimi, roast meats (the beef and turkey were particularly good), the raclette cheese that I had without the boiled potatoes (carbs!), prawns and oysters were damn delicious and the bowls of blueberries, raspberries and cherries. But I do have to say that all the food was incredible and there was an abundance of delicious items at every corner of the restaurant. The service was also excellent with wine top-ups frequent and generous, thankyouverymuch! We ate and ate and ate some more until the buffet was closed up around us…I am also pleased to advise that we were the last table in the restaurant so certainly got our vfm.
Here’s a few more pics of the dishes that we ate…so yum!
So would I go back again? HELL YEH! Everything was awesome and even if the pricetag was a bit steep, even for western standards, we definitely ate our money’s worth!
Sofitel Phokeethra Phnom Penh
26 Old August site Sothearos Bld, Sangkat Tonle Bassac, Phnom Penh