One of the best meals I had in Siem Reap was at Marum https://beirutibrit.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/marum-restaurant-siem-reap/ a charity training school and restaurant run by Friends International http://www.tree-alliance.org/our-restaurants/friends.asp. When I was looking into suitable restaurants to visit in Phnom Penh I was delighted to see that they operate two restaurants in the City; Romdeng and Friends and as they both came highly recommended by the good folks at http://grantourismotravels.com/?wref=bif we decided to check them both out for dinner during our stay. Friends is an easy walk from Sisowath quay where we had earlier enjoyed sunset drinks at the swanky FCC (Foreign Correspondants Club) and although we turned up without reservations we were lucky enough to snag a coveted table in the garden around 10 minutes after we arrived.
The menu is described as “tapas” style which suited us down to the ground and we all chose 2 dishes each to be shared amongst the 7 of us which alarmed our waiter somewhat as he was worried we had ordered way too much food but we stuck to our guns and waited eagerly in anticipation of what lay ahead.
The cooking has influences from all around the globe and we had dishes as diverse as a Middle eastern style smoked eggplant dip to Burmese chicken curry, Cambodian spiced fish in banana leaf, lotus root salad, pork and beef meatballs with noodles, arancini and much more! The menu is also easy to navigate being grouped into different sections, indicating if it is a vegetarian, meat or fish dish.
We did a pretty impressive job of working our way through the dishes (some of which were specials and therefore main course sized) each and every dish bought new and interesting flavour combinations and with the bill coming in at $20 USD each (including several bottles of prosecco) we certainly didn’t regret being over ambitious with our menu selection!
As at Marum, the service was excellent and the cooking couldn’t be faulted and we were extremely pleased with our choice of restaurant and had we been staying longer I most definitely would have been tempted to go back for lunch. Friends is also home to a small shop and beauty parlour next door where you can have a cheap manicure or purchase their cookery books, jewelry and other locally made gifts to bring back with you, again with all proceeds going towards their charity efforts.
With something for everyone on the menu whether veggie, full on carnivore, fussy or adventurous Friends should make it onto everyone’s dining itinerary in Phnom Penh.