The Kiwi Bakery – Phnom Penh

Kiwi Bakery and Restaurant
Bread, pastries, breakfast and beverages

199 Sisowath Quay (The Riverside)

Recently relocated from Street 63, this cafe opened a month or so ago but has been curiously quiet in advertising or opening promotions of any kind. Having spent a morning out and about with some Khmer friends I found myself hot and tired riding back down the riverside on a sweltering Sunday afternoon, when I spotted it was open and feeling in need of a cool drink and a snack I decide to stop in.

Once over the threshold a wave of frozen air hits me, I take a moment to relish in this rare Phnom Penh sensation. Looking around I see terracotta floor tiles, Angkorian lava rock facia to the walls with terracotta cornices at the column tops.

Hard, dark, wood tables and chairs with wide spaces between add to the feeling of space and airiness.

The extreme level of air-conditioning makes the fierce heat of a Cambodia afternoon an ill remembered memory.

Huge glass windows on two side of the restaurant give me the slight feeling of being a goldfish bowl to start with; but after a while, as the cool air lowers my body temperature to that of a human being again it starts to feel as if I am watching ‘Cambodia: The Reality TV Show’ through them on an ultra wide screen plasma TV, with the sound off.

When I arrived, at 14:00 on a Sunday afternoon, the only other patron in there was an immaculately dressed, diminutive and ancient Chinese man, in fact the Nissan Trooper 4×4 he was driving was nearly twice as high as he was.

During the hour that I was there a few more customers wandered in; four pink skinned and bright eyed girls fresh off the boat from Siem Reap, on a one week trip to ‘do’ Cambodia, having ‘done’ Thailand the week before and planning on ‘doing’ Viet Nam next week. Talking loud and slow in English to the waitress, they ordered iced coffees, cups of tea and slices of cake. Wandering back to the kitchen the waitress, who had spoken perfect English to me only 10 minutes early, was seen shaking her head slightly.

The traditional western breakfast consisted of 2 eggs, sausage, fried tomato and home fries.
The eggs were perfectly fried, although they came with a little too much oil still floating around them. The home fries – potato cubes and onion – were excellent, although there was only a tablespoonful of them at the most. The big let down was the ‘sausage’ or should I say the four tinned chipolatas that had been vaguely warmed through and presented as the ‘sausage’ part of my breakfast, like skinny circumcised pigmy cocks, they stared off the plate as unappetising as that description.

The cafe latte tasted like it had been made with water straight from the Tonle Sap it was bitter and foul tasting, leaving an unpleasant, slimy, trail in the mouth.

The traditional western breakfast was US$2:50 – 10,000r, the cafe latte was US$1 – 4,000r. Hardly an exorbitant sum, but I am not sure that it would not have been better value to pay an extra couple of dollars and had the English breakfast at either The Rising Sun or Rory’s Bar, both of which are excellent.

It would only take a few small changes and relatively little cost, to exponentially increase the quality and quantity of the food on offer, if the new location is to enjoy the popularity and success of the former location it needs to make a number of changes.

Disappointed and still hungry after my lacklustre breakfast I called into Caltex on the way home, and after filling the belly of the beast I ride, I purchased two of the Kiwi Bakery’s finest products; a French loaf and a mystery meat pie.

Lord Playboy

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