Whilst Siem Reap has an abundance of back packer bars, in my opinion there is a definite shortage of high end options if you want to sit back and relax over a well made cocktail or nice bottle of wine, unless you want to visit one of the big hotel bars or somewhere like Miss Wong’s. Thankfully AHA Wine Bar, in one of the small alleys leading off Pub Street is doing a good job in filling the gap.
The stylish, sleek restaurant offers an impressive 60+ wines by the bottle with around 8 (New World) options by the glass, in addition to an eclectic global menu with an emphasis on small “tapas” or “small plate” style dishes.
Of the small plates I have tried everything from the Khmer sharing platter with its trio of beef skewer with papaya pickle, chicken and coconut spring roll and green mango salad with snake – not as frightening as it sounds! – to the Contemporary; unagi roll served with wasabi cream, croquette of suckling pig with beetroot mayonnaise and an unusual moringa and cheese dumpling with honey and soy sauce.
Further visits have seen me also sampling the Vegetarian platter with its deep fried potato with garlic aioli, confit tomato with roasted eggplant and mushroom pickle and cauliflower cheese mousse and their take on a Cheese board; apricots stuffed with gorgonzola and cherry tomatoes, garam masala marinated goats cheese and a caramelized apple and Brie crepe, all of which are priced from between $6.50 and $11 and are perfect for enjoying with a glass of wine or two.
They also list salads and main courses – below you can see two of their vegetarian options, Pumpkin Salad with chickpeas and lotus seeds in a jujube dressing with ricotta croutes and my personal favourite; the Mushroom and Cashew Stir-fry with sesame crumbed tofu and mushroom sauce , a real umami filled taste explosion (even if it does sound very “right on” and boring!) Whatever you do, save room for a scoop of their delicious honey flavoured ice cream with crushed honeycomb as it is one of the best desserts I have had in a long time!
Whilst you can undoubtedly find cheaper wine in Siem Reap, the sophisticated surroundings and comprehensive wine list make AHA a stylish dinner choice and a good destination if you have had enough of the Pub Street madness outside.
Aha Wine Bar – Alley between Pub Street, Siem Reap. Tel: +855 63 965 501