With my favourite local Italian Restaurant, Il Forno, closed whilst they prepare to open their second restaurant down in Phnom Penh, my Italian food cravings reached an all time high and so I finally got around to visiting “Mama Shop” a little Italian restaurant in Kandal Village that I have been meaning to try out for a while.
The restaurant is small and fairly intimate, I would guess it seats no more than 25 people at any one time and was doing good business (they filled up after i took my photos!) when I visited considering it was a gloomy, rainy night outside. The décor is clean and simple, I liked the fun glass topped tables with dried pasta underneath and was happy to see that along with the Hive, Little Red Fox and other neighbouring properties, they are partaking in THINK @ Kandal Village, an exhibition by French artist, Pascal Colrat and Friends International to raise awareness of child safety here in Cambodia.
Unsurprisingly, the menu focusses on Pizza and Pasta with a small selection of Antipasti and Salads available as well as Panini’s and Sandwiches. Staying true to their roots, the wine list offers only Italian wines, priced very reasonably from $10-$19 a bottle with 2 whites and 2 reds being available by the glass. My Trebbiano ($3) was more than acceptable for the price and I was also pleasantly surprised to see a Pinot Bianco on the list which I will have to try on another occasion if I visit with friends.
I started with “Zucchini in Oil” ($1.50) a simple grilled courgette antipasti that they pulled off perfectly. I love courgette but have had little success when attempting such a simple dish at home as you really need to have great tasting courgettes to make it work or else it will be bland and tasteless. I may well need to see where they buy their vegetables from and give them a whirl myself!
The real litmus test of course was the pizza. After much debate I decided I would have a Quattro Stagioni ($7) but replaced the cooked ham for Prosciutto which I far prefer and personally think makes for a much tastier pizza. The waitress – who I must say was very sweet and efficient – had no issue with the substitution and didn’t charge me any extra even though I had mentioned that I would be happy to do so. It was a small thing, but those are what make the difference…
Whilst I prefer Il Fornos Neapolitan style pizza, it must be said that Mama Shop make one of the best pizzas in Siem Reap and the fact that they have aircon (a big plus here) means that I can definitely see myself alternating between here and Il Forno in future.
I really enjoyed the ambience and friendly service and I was happy to learn that not only are they open for lunch, they also do takeaway and delivery – vital information in rainy season!! I am also looking forward to trying more of their antipasti and pasta dishes as well so a return visit is on the cards sooner rather than later.
*Edited to add a couple more photo’s of their delicious pizza and a spinach ravioli with pesto from earlier in the week (told you there would be a return visit sooner rather than later!)
Open Daily 11:00-22:00 (excluding Sunday)
+855 88 413 8649