FRESH off its refurbishment and reopening in October, Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor has unveiled a new addition to the hotel’s dining option, featuring a modern and sleek Khmer cuisine restaurant called ‘1932’.
Named after the year that the Grand Dame was opened, 1932 presents Executive Chef Angela Brown’s modern take on Cambodian cuisine – from humble home cooking to the recipes of the Royal Khmer kitchens that were gifted to Raffle by royal decree.
At the launch last Friday (Nov 22), Chef Brown explained that 1932 is not trying to alter the classic DNA of Cambodian cuisine but instead, is trying to tackle it from a fresh approach without neglecting the fundamental elements that make the cuisine what it truly is.
“We want to create something different. Unfortunately, Cambodian cuisine has not been elevated to the global platform and this is a shame because the food is really good. So for our menu, we decided that we will retain the authenticity for some recipes as to not forget the heritage, while some others will feature modern twist of traditional flavours.
“We use the original recipes so our guests can understand what Cambodian dishes are, and what they can be. Then we proceed with refining said recipes to ensure the dishes will have the same taste as the original, but in a different style,” she told Good Times2 after the launch.
Guests, which included members of the media and Raffles loyal partners, feasted on a six-course menu, curated especially by Chef Brown and her team at 1932.
The menu began with an open-faced Khmer spring roll with vegetable pickles, roasted peanuts, spicy plum and chili sauce as the amuse bouche, followed by sweet pomelo salad with freshwater prawn, smoked Kes fish, cashews, avocado and lime paste.
“I love Asian cuisine. I love how the different flavours and textures just come together harmoniously – it is very fascinating,” Chef Brown, who has been working with the group for over 10 years, gushed.
“Most times we see that Cambodia has a lot of delicious food but the aesthetic part of it is lacking. Because we eat with our eyes first, we at 1932 try our very best to make the dishes look more polished and refined for both the visual and gastronomical pleasures of our guests.”
For the main highlights of the night, Chef Brown prepared a seared seabass fillet, coupled with grilled banana blossom, local vegetable salad, num banh chok foam, basil and sesbania, followed by braised Wagyu beef cheek with ma-om infusion, quail egg, green tomato puree and baby carrots.
“Num banh chok (Khmer noodles) is my personal favourite but it normally doesn’t look too appetising. What we did was that instead of using the noodles and fish bits, we refine the recipe further by making seabass as the main element, which pairs perfectly with banana blossom,” she said.
The order of the courses was perfectly arranged. Cambodian classic, tamarind granita with chili sugar was served right after a hearty meal of braised beef. The unique tang of the granita acts as a palate cleanser before the dinner was capped off with Lapov pumpkin custard tart with pandan sauce, mango salsa and fresh coconut.
“There is a lot of hard labour and love that goes into the dishes. A lot of trial and error. Even the pumpkin tart – it took us more than 20 times to get it right because this is something no one has attempted before.
“Finally, when the recipe is perfected, we decided to add mango salsa for a fresh ‘kick’ to the dessert. It is hard work, but definitely worth it,” the Australian chef rasped.
The 1932 is not the only new offering that the refurbished d’Angkor has in store, in terms of gastronomical delights. Café d’Angkor returns to its root as Siem Reap’s quintessential brunch and breakfast spot with a more extensive menu.
Guests can also partake in the beloved Raffles tradition by enjoying the best Afternoon Tea at the Conservatory, or indulge in the best cocktails in town at the Elephant Bar.
After a six-month restoration, this new chapter in the Raffles timeline brings with it many other exciting additions. In the name of Raffles’ spirit of adventure and discovery, take a tour through town and the surrounding areas with special journeys and curated experiences.
From cruising through the temple ruins on the back of a Vespa, to gaining exclusive access to silk weaving farm, to visiting Siem Reap’s art ateliers, to eating your way through the city and sightseeing via tuktuk and indulging in retail therapy — the choice is yours to make.
These options dubbed the Journey to the Lost Civilisation, the Silk Road of Angkor, the Contemporary Art Insider, a Khmer Culinary Discovery and Siem Reap Insider are tailored exclusively for Raffles guests only.
To find out further how best to spend your way at the Grand Dame, do not miss The Raffles Way, a historical tour of the Raffles Grand Hotel, guided by the Resident Historian. Check with concierge for schedule.