I had some friends visiting from out of town for a week, and they wanted to have a fun and different experience from our other nights out in Phnom Penh. It was an easy choice to settle on Le Broken Plate, which is almost hidden on street 13 and certainly out of place for the surroundings. I had been once before with a large group, but this time it was only four of us. I called mid afternoon and made a reservation, which certainly seems like it needs to be done.
Le Broken Plate is a Japanese inspired restaurant with a focus on sourcing local and sustainable products, as the Cambodian chef will explain at your table. He spent 18 years in Montreal, and as one of our dining companions commented, seems like he is straight out of San Fransisco (in a good way). Fluent in English, French and Khmer, he easily switches between them all as he makes his way around the small dining room to ensure that everyone is enjoying themselves.
There are three menu options: $30, $40, and $50, which are portion sized for two. The options do have different serving amounts (7, 9 and 11 courses; and for a work dinner with 18 people he did a special $25 5 course menu), but the price difference is more about the quality of the ingredients. We opted for two $50 courses (although we could have mixed it up and done a $50 and a $30, for example), while friends that I saw at the bar had opted for a $40 set. If something in particular stands out, you could also order that on top of your set. Needless to say, each of our groups walked out stuffed beyond belief, and we were not ordering anything additional. It should also be pointed out that the edamame which is served when you sit down is very addictive, and be warned not to over indulge in those before your meal even arrives.
An extensive sake menu to choose from
We really like the atmosphere and design of the place. It’s small and cozy, with a clear eye into the bar area where they’re preparing and plating your food. We had ordered a bottle of sparkling, and when that was done the owner/chef was liberally pouring us sake to try, and chatting it up with us. There is a second floor that was hosting a birthday party, and you could tell they were having a blast up there. It’s also certainly a place to see and be seen: not only did I catch my friend on a date, but I saw another friend in a group at the bar, a young Cambodian Director General that I knew appeared for dinner, and later on another well known expat businessman poked his head in to see who was around.
Main Seafood Platter (several “courses”)
The Main Meat/Cooked Seafood Platter
Always need some oysters
Some of the best congee I’ve had (seafood congee), but was so full by this point.
Stuffed “crab brain”
One of the downsides that needs to be worked upon is the timing of the courses. We waited a decent while after ordering to have two soups appear at once, and later on the two main platters were served on top of one another, and then there was a long break before the last two courses. Everything served comes out beautifully, and there are common flavors to bring you through the meal; at times, a little too common throughout.
All in all, it is an excellent choice for dinner, may you be on a date, with friends, or entertaining a business colleague that would like to try something a little different. The atmosphere is killer, the chef more than affable, and the food is an excellent value. Our dinner for four with a bottle of sparkling was $129. A date (food and wine) could easily be done for under $60.